March was an amazing month for horror! I started off the month with Cassandra Khaw and Richard Kadrey's The Dead Take The A Train , whic...

This Month in Horror || April 2024

March was an amazing month for horror!

I started off the month with Cassandra Khaw and Richard Kadrey's The Dead Take The A Train, which was gruesomely fast-paced. I read the second book in the Sworn Soldier series, What Feasts at Night by T. Kingfisher and took a chance on KU for Whispers of Blackwell House by Amelia Cognet. The Butcher of the Forest by Premee Mohamed with its gothic fairytale feel was a favorite. Its fantasy/horror mashup was delightful. Keeping the forest theme going, C.G. Drews' Don't Let the Forest In won't publish until October but you want to put this YA book on your TBR now. 

You'll have to wait on another couple of my favorites from this month: Christina Henry's new release The House That Horror Built is coming out in May and Chuck Tingle's newest Bury Your Gays will be published in July. When I say so many good books, I mean it! 

My absolute favorite though was Nick Roberts' Mean Spirited. I haven't read something this creepy in a long time. Highly recommend!

What's next for April? Space horror, haunted houses, psychological horrors, it's all here! 
Here are just a few of April's don't-miss horror releases. 

See the whole list of 2024 releases here

Rise and shine. The Evans women have some undead to kill.

It’s 1999 in Southeast Texas and the Evans women, owners of the only funeral parlor in town, are keeping steady with…normal business. The dead die, you bury them. End of story. That’s how Ducey Evans has done it for the last eighty years, and her progeny―Lenore the experimenter and Grace, Lenore’s soft-hearted daughter, have run Evans Funeral Parlor for the last fifteen years without drama. Ever since That Godawful Mess that left two bodies in the ground and Grace raising her infant daughter Luna, alone.

But when town gossip Mina Jean Murphy’s body is brought in for a regular burial and she rises from the dead instead, it’s clear that the Strigoi―the original vampire―are back. And the Evans women are the ones who need to fight back to protect their town.

As more folks in town turn up dead and Deputy Roger Taylor begins asking way too many questions, Ducey, Lenore, Grace, and now Luna, must take up their blades and figure out who is behind the Strigoi’s return. As the saying goes, what rises up, must go back down. But as unspoken secrets and revelations spill from the past into the present, the Evans family must face that sometimes, the dead aren’t the only things you want to keep buried.

A crackling mystery-horror novel with big-hearted characters and Southern charm with a bite, Bless Your Heart is a gasp-worthy delight from start to finish.

Bram Stoker Award-winning author Hailey Piper joins Bad Hand Books with a supernatural crime novella.

What’s been happening at Cranberry Cove? It’s unspeakable. It’s unspoken.

Emberly Hale is about to take a dark journey inside the derelict hotel—and inside her own past—to find out the horrible truth.

Discover this creepy, charming monster-slaying fantasy romance—from the perspective of the monster—by Nebula Award-winning debut author John Wiswell

Shesheshen has made a mistake fatal to all monsters: she's fallen in love.

Shesheshen is a shapeshifter, who happily resides as an amorphous lump at the bottom of a ruined manor. When her rest is interrupted by hunters intent on murdering her, she constructs a body from the remains of past meals: a metal chain for a backbone, borrowed bones for limbs, and a bear trap as an extra mouth.

However, the hunters chase Shesheshen out of her home and off a cliff. Badly hurt, she’s found and nursed back to health by Homily, a warm-hearted human, who has mistaken Shesheshen as a fellow human. Homily is kind and nurturing and would make an excellent co-parent: an ideal place to lay Shesheshen’s eggs so their young could devour Homily from the inside out. But as they grow close, she realizes humans don’t think about love that way.

Shesheshen hates keeping her identity secret from Homily, but just as she’s about to confess, Homily reveals why she’s in the area: she’s hunting a shapeshifting monster that supposedly cursed her family. Has Shesheshen seen it anywhere?

Eating her girlfriend isn’t an option. Shesheshen didn’t curse anyone, but to give herself and Homily a chance at happiness, she has to figure out why Homily’s twisted family thinks she did. As the hunt for the monster becomes increasingly deadly, Shesheshen must unearth the truth quickly, or soon both of their lives will be at risk.

And the bigger challenge remains: surviving her toxic in-laws long enough to learn to build a life with, rather than in, the love of her life.

A queer paranormal psychological horror novel, in the style of showrunner Mike Flannagan, showing the complex real-life terror inherent in grief and mental illness After the tragic death of their father and surviving a life-threatening eating disorder, 18-year-old Ellis moves with their mother to the small town of Black Stone, seeking a simpler life and some space to recover. But Black Stone feels off; it’s a disquieting place, one that’s surrounded by towns with some of the highest death rates in the country. It doesn’t help that everyone says Ellis’s new house is haunted. And Ellis has started to believe they see pulsing veins in the walls of their bedroom and specters in dark corners of the cellar. They soon discover Black Stone, and their house in particular, is the battleground in a decades-long spectral war, one that will claim their family ― and the town ― if it’s allowed to continue. Withered is queer psychological horror, a compelling tale that tackles important issues of mental health in the way that only horror by delving deep into them, cracking them open, and exposing their gruesome entrails.

Published  March 12, 2024 by Orbit S et in a world of perilous magic and moonlit forests, this seductive romantic fantasy tells the story of...

Book Review || A Feather So Black by Lyra Selene

Published March 12, 2024 by Orbit

Set in a world of perilous magic and moonlit forests, this seductive romantic fantasy tells the story of a defiant changeling, her cursed sister, and the dangerous fae lord she must defeat to save her family.

In a kingdom where magic has been lost, Fia is a rare changeling, left behind by the wicked Fair Folk when they stole the high queen's daughter, Eala, and retreated behind the locked gates of the Folk realm. Rather than leave Fia an outcast, the queen takes her in and trains her to be a spy.

When a hidden gate to the realm is discovered, Fia is tasked by the queen to retrieve the princess and break her curse. Accompanying Fia is Prince Rogan, her dearest childhood friend—and Eala’s betrothed. As they journey through the forests of the Folk, Fia’s mission is complicated by her feelings for Rogan…and an unexpected attraction to the fae lord holding Eala captive. 

Soon, Fia begins to question the truth of her origins and the reality of her mission, but time is running out to break Eala's curse. And unraveling the secrets of the past might destroy everything Fia has come to love.

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There is a ton of fae-based "romantasy" out there right now since the rise of fiction like ACOTAR. It's difficult given the complete inundation of the current book market to publish something that feels fresh. However, that's just what Lyra Selene did. This fairytale-inspired tale has a uniqueness, while still containing the elements that more mainstream readers will enjoy. 

Even though she was swapped for the princess, Fia hasn't lived a cushy life. The queen has raised her as a weapon and given her love like one would for a dog learning to sit. Affection only when she's done a good job. As anyone would be raised like that, Fia spent a lot of time with her inner dialogue on repeat. You really just want her to wise up and realize that she's worthy already. Fia could get on your nerves quick yet you found yourself cheering her on at other times. 

Fia and Rogan can only access the fae world on the full moon so a lot of the book was character development. I loved the development of Fia's botanical magic and bringing the greenhouse back to life. Fia's relationship with the sprite Corra added a spot of mischief to the story. Despite that, A Feather So Black's ending got dark.  I was surprised at how dark a turn it actually took. 

This is going to be one of those dividing books. You are either going to love it or hate it. I enjoyed the world-building and the mythology. The romance wasn't my favorite thing about the book but if you like enemy-to-lover tropes and insta love, it may just work for you.

Published  October 3, 2023 by Tor Nightfire B estselling authors Cassandra Khaw and Richard Kadrey have teamed up to deliver a dark new stor...

Review || The Dead Take the A Train by Cassandra Khaw and Richard Kadrey

Published October 3, 2023 by Tor Nightfire

Bestselling authors Cassandra Khaw and Richard Kadrey have teamed up to deliver a dark new story with magic, monsters, and mayhem, perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman and Joe Hill.

Julie Crews is a coked-up, burnt-out thirty-something who packs a lot of magic into her small body. She’s been trying to establish herself in the NYC magic scene, and she’ll work the most gruesome gigs to claw her way to the top.

Julie is desperate for a quick career boost to break the dead-end grind, but her pleas draw the attention of an eldritch god who is hungry for revenge. Her power grab sets off a deadly chain of events that puts her closest friends – and the entire world – directly in the path of annihilation.

The first explosive adventure in the Carrion City Duology, The Dead Take the A Train fuses Khaw’s cosmic horror and Kadrey’s gritty fantasy into a full-throttle thrill ride straight into New York’s magical underbelly.
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Had I done anything but see Khaw and Kadrey and gone ooo shiny, I may not have picked this one up.  However, to my surprise, this magic and mayhem mash-up was most engrossing. Kadrey had long solidified his place as one of my favorite urban fantasy series with Sandman Slim. Khaw is hit or miss for me due to their wordsmithing. While it can be lovely, it's often overwhelming due to their more obscure vocabulary. Their prose comes in large mouthfuls that have to be chewed methodically but there's no denying that absolutely no one writes like Khaw. I wondered how exactly the two styles could possibly mesh seamlessly but somehow they did. 

Any good read starts with good characters and the protagonist Julie is an absolute fucking delight. I use that word because writing a review about this book without at least one f-bomb would not be doing justice to the chaotic mess that is Julie. She's snarky, hilarious, and totally off the cuff but when I say she's a mess, she is a MESS. Between the moments she spends being a badass, she's loading herself on whatever she can get, whether that's booze or pills. 

Julie's chaos only adds to that of this book. Urban fantasy heavy on gore with a twist of eldritch horror, The Dead Take The A Train is a bizarre mash-up of genres that probably should not work, like the two authors in questions, yet somehow do. Kadrey has always been on the gritty side of UF and with Khaw's influence taking that completely over the top to the dark side of horror, this is an unconventional pairing that I'm excited to see again in the future.

Gruesomely overflowing with both the grotesque and irreverent, this neon nightmare fuel will have the least tryptophobic of us seeing holes (and eyes, lots of freaking eyes) everywhere. I picked this one up as an audiobook and Natalie Naudus was a fantastic narrator.