Published January 18th 2022 by St. Martin's Press A  biting novel from an electrifying new voice, Such a Pretty Smile is a heart-stoppin...

Black cover with the words Book Review || Such a Pretty Smile by Kristi DeMeester over a red female profile

Published January 18th 2022 by St. Martin's Press

A biting novel from an electrifying new voice, Such a Pretty Smile is a heart-stopping tour-de-force about powerful women, angry men, and all the ways in which girls fight against the forces that try to silence them.

There’s something out there that’s killing. Known only as The Cur, he leaves no traces, save for the torn bodies of girls, on the verge of becoming women, who are known as trouble-makers; those who refuse to conform, to know their place. Girls who don’t know when to shut up.

2019: Thirteen-year-old Lila Sawyer has secrets she can’t share with anyone. Not the school psychologist she’s seeing. Not her father, who has a new wife, and a new baby. And not her mother—the infamous Caroline Sawyer, a unique artist whose eerie sculptures, made from bent twigs and crimped leaves, have made her a local celebrity. But soon Lila feels haunted from within, terrorized by a delicious evil that shows her how to find her voice—until she is punished for using it.

2004: Caroline Sawyer hears dogs everywhere. Snarling, barking, teeth snapping that no one else seems to notice. At first, she blames the phantom sounds on her insomnia and her acute stress in caring for her ailing father. But then the delusions begin to take shape—both in her waking hours, and in the violent, visceral sculptures she creates while in a trance-like state. Her fiancé is convinced she needs help. Her new psychiatrist waves her “problem” away with pills. But Caroline’s past is a dark cellar, filled with repressed memories and a lurking horror that the men around her can’t understand.

As past demons become a present threat, both Caroline and Lila must chase the source of this unrelenting, oppressive power to its malignant core. Brilliantly paced, unsettling to the bone, and unapologetically fierce, Such a Pretty Smile is a powerful allegory for what it can mean to be a woman, and an untamed rallying cry for anyone ever told to sit down, shut up, and smile pretty. 

 
As the synopsis says, this book is a feminist narrative for those told to "sit down, shut up, and smile pretty." While I would probably classify it as a modern thriller, it does have horror elements. However, the absolute horror in it is how the women and girls are overlooked, scrutinized, and discounted. It does feature heavily on mental illness and the treatment of such so those with triggers might best pass this one by.

The story is told in alternating fragments by unreliable narrators: Caroline in 2004 and her daughter, Lila in 2019. The novel begins with the figure known as The Cur taking another girl and leaving only her rent and battered body. Mother Caroline knows more than she is letting on and her daughter, Lila at thirteen, is ongoing changes that are leaving her angry and confused. To compound everything, Lila is feeling smothered by her mother's protective behavior. Throw in a decrepit amusement park, the site of Caroline's disappearance as a child, and there is much more to the story than we at first know. 

One thing to address is that the "crazy woman" trope has been used in so many ways and is honestly one of the most insulting tropes out there. Having men quickly brush off behavior that doesn't comply with their expectations and therefore, deem it as madness, is only one of the many ways that women are disregarded. Thus, the stigma of mental illness continues. In Such a Pretty Smile, both mother and daughter are questioning if what they are experiencing is reality or some construction of the figurative demon inside. While this trope has been abused often—insinuating the hysteria of women—in this novel it serves as a reminder of how men are quick to overlook and ignore women. Unfortunately, it almost became a caricature of itself. Every single man in this story is painted with the same brush of being the superior intellect: the outclassed artist boyfriend, the neglectful and distracted father, and the patronizing psychologist. Had there been one supportive healthy male figure in the book, I think it would have elevated the feminist theme.

There was something about the way this story was told that maintained my interest in spite of the waffling narratives. While at times, the novel sped along, it unfortunately also tarried overlong in a few places. The vast majority of the story carried more questions obfuscating the threat. I had no qualms with the writing itself; its language was darkly descriptive and compelling. I was left dissatisfied with its ending though. Was the beast schizophrenia, hormonal, familial? After an incredibly long build-up to the finale, I felt like I was left with more answers instead of a sense of completion. Still, it was a memorable read, though an unusual, more introspective one than normal. 










Published March 22nd, 2022 by Titan Books J ack Corman is failing at life. Jobless, jaded, and facing the threat of eviction, he’s also reel...


Published March 22nd, 2022 by Titan Books


Jack Corman is failing at life. Jobless, jaded, and facing the threat of eviction, he’s also reeling from the death of his father, one-time film director Bob Corman. Back in the eighties, Bob poured his heart and soul into the creation of his 1986 puppet fantasy The Shadow Glass, but the film flopped on release and Bob was never the same again.

In the wake of Bob’s death, Jack returns to his decaying childhood home, where he is confronted with the impossible — the puppet heroes from The Shadow Glass are alive, and they need his help. Tipped into a desperate quest to save the world from the more nefarious of his father’s creations, Jack teams up with an excitable fanboy and a spiky studio exec to navigate the labyrinth of his father’s legacy and ignite a Shadow Glass resurgence that could, finally, do Bob proud.

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Eighties babies, do you remember the magic of your childhood watching Atreyu set off on his journey to save the Empress or Jen and Kira on the quest to retrieve the crystal? What about Sarah's trek to the center of the labyrinth or Jack traveling to Darkness' castle to release the unicorn? All of those movies that we watched a million times over wishing that magic was real and that we, too, had an epic fantasy quest that we were destined for. Listen to me when I tell you, this book will bring all those feelings back for you in your monotonous, suburban 8-5 life. Maybe that's a bit harsh but can it compare to a grand adventure? The Shadow Glass is just that; a grand adventure where fiction meets fact.

In 1986, Bob Corman constructed a world of warring tribes of creatures in Iri and brought them to life on film. While the film didn't do so well upon release, it became a sensation years later as all the kids who grew up watching it, well, grew up idolizing the film. We're talking Comic cons and cosplaying the characters that ingrained themselves upon young hearts and minds. Poor Bob never got to see it play out though and instead spent his life drinking his bitterness away. Towards the end, Bob became seemingly confused, frequently stating that the characters and worlds were real—the apparent ramblings of a senile mind for all to see. He was so enamored of this other world that his own son Jack spent his life feeling unloved and forgotten, becoming quite bitter himself.

Now before you go feeling too sorry for Jack, the only reason he's even in this story is that he's returned to his father's home after his death. He's not there to close the estate or reminisce about his father. He's there hoping to retrieve one of his father's treasured puppets to sell to pay off his own debts. Yeah, he's a peach. Only he discovers that his father wasn't so crazy as the world of Iri literally comes to life in the attic of his father's house. Jack is quickly thrown back into the memories of his childhood as he and his newfound nerdy motley crew set out to find all the pieces of the mirror that will put Iri back to right. 

The Shadow Glass was a surprise to me, to be honest. I went into it with no preconceived notions and found myself absolutely unable to set it down. By the end of the first few chapters, I was invested in Iri and its inhabitants and in Jack's tale as well. There is a bit of everything we 80s kids loved about the epic fantasies of our youth—action, adventure, great villains and even greater heroes, high stakes, humor, and even the unexpected emotional tug on your heartstrings. The stories of our youth never shied away from the darkness and neither does The Shadow Glass. Josh Winning weaves all the enchantment with hard topics such as Bob's alcoholism and Jack's feelings of abandonment. There is absolutely no doubt that he knows his fantasy tropes and employs them liberally. Instead of these tired tropes feeling unoriginal, he manages to spin them into something familiar yet new, rocking us 80s babies in the cradle of the stories that we cut our teeth on. 














It's time again to check another box on the  Scaredy Cat Bingo Challenge   which consists of 25 reading prompts on a bingo board.  Not p...

It's time again to check another box on the 
which consists of 25 reading prompts on a bingo board. 
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Jump in anytime here


Today's prompt:

Grimm Dark

This prompt is absolutely hands down one of my favorite genres. If you've read any of my reviews about dark fairytale retellings, you already know. I can get positively giddy over a dark fairytale. There's something wickedly wonderful about the original tales. Before they were given the Disney treatment, these tales were often violent and horrific. You need only look at the cannibalistic witch in Hansel and Gretel, the hot iron shoes the stepmother in Snow White is forced to dance in, the blinded prince in Rapunzel, or the stepsisters in Cinderella lopping off toes and heels to fit the glass slipper to see that fairytales aren't what they used to be. Here are just a few that bring dark twist back to those stories by Grimm, Andersen, and more.



Be sure to leave a trail of breadcrumbs to this list to pad your TBR. 
Here are 18 books dark fairytale retellings to chill your blood!


You think you know these stories, don’t you?

You are wrong.

You don’t know them at all.

Twelve tales, twelve dangerous tales of mystery, magic, and rebellious hearts. Each twists like a spindle to reveal truths full of warning and triumph, truths that capture hearts long kept tame and set them free, truths that explore life . . . and death.

A prince has a surprising awakening . . . 

A beauty fights like a beast . . .

A boy refuses to become prey . . .

A path to happiness is lost. . . . then found again.

New York Times bestselling author Soman Chainani respins old stories into fresh fairy tales for a new era and creates a world like no other. These stories know you. They understand you. They reflect you. They are tales for our times. So read on, if you dare. 

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.



Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives: they are determined that she know only contentment.

But Sorcha's joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift—by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever.

When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all... 



One man’s thrilling journey through an enchanted world to find his wife, who has disappeared after seemingly committing an unforgiveable act of violence, from the award-winning author of the The Devil in Silver and Big Machine.

Apollo Kagwa has had strange dreams that have haunted him since childhood. An antiquarian book dealer with a business called Improbabilia, he is just beginning to settle into his new life as a committed and involved father, unlike his own father who abandoned him, when his wife Emma begins acting strange. Disconnected and uninterested in their new baby boy, Emma at first seems to be exhibiting all the signs of post-partum depression, but it quickly becomes clear that her troubles go far beyond that. Before Apollo can do anything to help, Emma commits a horrific act—beyond any parent’s comprehension—and vanishes, seemingly into thin air.

Thus begins Apollo’s odyssey through a world he only thought he understood to find a wife and child who are nothing like he’d imagined. His quest begins when he meets a mysterious stranger who claims to have information about Emma’s whereabouts. Apollo then begins a journey that takes him to a forgotten island in the East River of New York City, a graveyard full of secrets, a forest in Queens where immigrant legends still live, and finally back to a place he thought he had lost forever. This dizzying tale is ultimately a story about family and the unfathomable secrets of the people we love.


The first daughter is for the Throne.
The second daughter is for the Wolf.

For fans of Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale comes a dark fantasy novel about a young woman who must be sacrificed to the legendary Wolf of the Wood to save her kingdom. But not all legends are true, and the Wolf isn't the only danger lurking in the Wilderwood.

As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he'll return the world's captured gods.

Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can't control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can't hurt those she loves. Again.

But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn't learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.



A gruesome curse. A city in upheaval. A monster with unquenchable appetites.

Marlinchen and her two sisters live with their wizard father in a city shifting from magic to industry. As Oblya’s last true witches, she and her sisters are little more than a tourist trap as they treat their clients with archaic remedies and beguile them with nostalgic charm. Marlinchen spends her days divining secrets in exchange for rubles and trying to placate her tyrannical, xenophobic father, who keeps his daughters sequestered from the outside world. But at night, Marlinchen and her sisters sneak out to enjoy the city’s amenities and revel in its thrills, particularly the recently established ballet theater, where Marlinchen meets a dancer who quickly captures her heart.

As Marlinchen’s late-night trysts grow more fervent and frequent, so does the threat of her father’s rage and magic. And while Oblya flourishes with culture and bustles with enterprise, a monster lurks in its midst, borne of intolerance and resentment and suffused with old-world power. Caught between history and progress and blood and desire, Marlinchen must draw upon her own magic to keep her city safe and find her place within it. 




Hair bright as gold...Lips red as blood...Heart black as sin...Truth sharp as bone...

As in their previous critically acclaimed volumes of reconsidered fairy tales, award-winning editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling have gathered together remarkable stories that illuminate the more sinister, sensual, and sophisticated aspects of the tales we cherished in childhood; the fables of witches and princes and lost children that we once imagined we knew.

"Black Heart, Ivory Bones" showcases twenty beguiling tales for the child-that-was and the adult-that-is, penned by twenty of the most creative artists in contemporary American literature. Here dissected are the darker anatomies of the timeless, seemingly simple stories we have long loved. Here wonder and truth have serious bite.

A lovelorn prince seeking his father's blessing concocts a fantastic tale of a witch, a tower, and lustrous long hair... A pair of accursed red boots punishes a beautiful dancer for her pride... A troll-killing, princess-rescuing warrior is compelled to consider events from his adversaries' point of view...In a blistering tell-all memoir, Goldilocks reveals the sordid truth about her brutal foster parent, Papa Bear...

Rich, surprising, funny, erotic, and unsettling, these twenty new yarns and poems offer exceptional anew treasures--as they brilliantly reveal lusts and jealousies, foibles, hatreds and dangerous obsessions, the things that slyly lurk in the midnight interior of oft-told tales.



Alone in the world, Asher Todd travels to the remote estate of Morwood Grange to become governess to three small children. Her sole possessions comprise a sea chest and a large carpet bag she hangs onto for dear life. She finds a fine old home, its inhabitants proud of their lineage and impeccable reputation, and a small village nearby. It seems an untroubled existence, yet there are portraits missing from the walls, locked rooms, and names excised from the family tree inscribed in the bible. In short order, the children adore her, she becomes indispensable to their father Luther in his laboratory, and her potions are able to restore the sight of granddame Leonora. Soon Asher fits in as if she’s always been there, but there are creatures that stalk the woods at night, spectres haunt the halls, and Asher is not as much a stranger to the Morwoods as it might at first appear.
 
A postapocalyptic take on the perennial classic "Little Red Riding Hood", about a woman who isn't as defenseless as she seems.

It's not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn't look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.

There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there's something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined.

Red doesn't like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn't about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods....




In the realm of Awara, where gods, monsters, and humans exist side by side, Miuko is an ordinary girl resigned to a safe, if uneventful, existence as an innkeeper’s daughter. But when Miuko is cursed and begins to transform into a demon with a deadly touch, she embarks on a quest to reverse the curse and return to her normal life. Aided by a thieving magpie spirit and continuously thwarted by a demon prince, Miuko must outfox tricksters, escape demon hunters, and negotiate with feral gods if she wants to make it home again. But with her transformation comes power and freedom she never even dreamed of, and she’ll have to decide if saving her soul is worth trying to cram herself back into an ordinary life that no longer fits her… and perhaps never did.


Young Rhea is a miller’s daughter of low birth, so she is understandably surprised when a mysterious nobleman, Lord Crevan, shows up on her doorstep and proposes marriage. Since commoners don’t turn down lords—no matter how sinister they may seem—Rhea is forced to agree to the engagement.

Lord Crevan demands that Rhea visit his remote manor before their wedding. Upon arrival, she discovers that not only was her betrothed married six times before, but his previous wives are all imprisoned in his enchanted castle. Determined not to share their same fate, Rhea asserts her desire for freedom. In answer, Lord Crevan gives Rhea a series of magical tasks to complete, with the threat “Come back before dawn, or else I’ll marry you.”

With time running out and each task more dangerous and bizarre than the last, Rhea must use her resourcefulness, compassion, and bravery to rally the other wives and defeat the sorcerer before he binds her to him forever.d. 



A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch, and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse...

There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming...human or demon. Princess or monster.


Cursed 

Cursed: A Wish is a Terrible Thing An Anthology of Dark Fairy Tales...an anthology of unique twists on the fairy tale conceit of the curse, from the traditional to the modern, giving us brand new mythologies as well as new approaches to well-loved fables. Twenty curses, old and new.

ALL THE BETTER TO READ YOU WITH. It's a prick of blood, the bite of an apple, the evil eye, a wedding ring or a pair of red shoes. Curses come in all shapes and sizes, and they can happen to anyone, not just those of us with unpopular stepparents...

Here you'll find unique twists on curses, from fairy tale classics to brand-new hexes of the modern world...expect new monsters and mythologies as well as twists on well-loved fables. Stories to shock and stories of warning, stories of monsters and stories of magic. Some might shock you, some might make you laugh, but they will all impress you with their originality. TWENTY TIMELESS FOLKTALES, NEW AND OLD.

“Never underestimate the power of a good story.”

Good advice...especially when a story can kill you.

For most people, the story of their lives is just that: the accumulation of time, encounters, and actions into a cohesive whole. But for an unfortunate few, that day-to-day existence is affected—perhaps infected is a better word—by memetic incursion: where fairy tale narratives become reality, often with disastrous results.

That's where the ATI Management Bureau steps in, an organization tasked with protecting the world from fairy tales, even while most of their agents are struggling to keep their own fantastic archetypes from taking over their lives. When you're dealing with storybook narratives in the real world, it doesn't matter if you're Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or the Wicked Queen: no one gets a happily ever after.

Indexing is New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire’s new urban fantasy where everything you thought you knew about fairy tales gets turned on its head.


A high stakes reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood.

For as long as sixteen-year-old Adele can remember the village of Oakvale has been surrounding by the dark woods—a forest filled with terrible monsters that light cannot penetrate. Like every person who grows up in Oakvale she has been told to steer clear of the woods unless absolutely necessary.

But unlike her neighbors in Oakvale, Adele has a very good reason for going into the woods. Adele is one of a long line of guardians, women who are able to change into wolves and who are tasked with the job of protecting their village while never letting any of the villagers know of their existence.

But when following her calling means abandoning the person she loves, the future she imagined for herself, and her values she must decide how far she is willing to go to keep her neighbors safe.


  

The sun is bright but that doesn't mean you can't still have your horror dark.  The summer always brings a spate of new scares and J...


The sun is bright but that doesn't mean you can't still have your horror dark. 
The summer always brings a spate of new scares and June promises to bring a bounty of fresh new reads your way. 

Check out just a few of the summertime scares headed your way this month. 

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Screams From the Dark: Tales of Monsters and the Monstrous, ed. Ellen Datlow.

Publication date: June 7th, 2022 by Tor Nightfire

 
A bone-chilling new anthology from legendary horror editor, Ellen Datlow, Screams from the Dark contains twenty-nine all-original tales about monsters.

From werewolves and vampires, to demons and aliens, the monster is one of the most recognizable figures in horror. But what makes something, or someone, monstrous?

Award-winning and up-and-coming authors like Richard Kadrey, Cassandra Khaw, Indrapramit Das, Priya Sharma, and more attempt to answer this question. These all-new stories range from traditional to modern, from mainstream to literary, from familiar monsters to the unknown … and unimaginable.

This chilling collection has something to please—and terrify—everyone, so lock your doors, hide under your covers, and try not to scream.

Contributors include: Ian Rogers, Fran Wilde, Gemma Files, Daryl Gregory, Priya Sharma, Brian Hodge, Joyce Carol Oates, Indrapramit Das, Siobhan Carroll, Richard Kadrey, Norman Partridge, Garry Kilworth, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Chikodili Emelumadu, Glen Hirshberg, A. C. Wise, Stephen Graham Jones, Kaaron Warren, Livia Llewellyn, Carole Johnstone, Margo Lanagan, Joe R. Lansdale, Brian Evenson, Nathan Ballingrud, Cassandra Khaw, Laird Barron, Kristi DeMeester, Jeffrey Ford, and John Langan. 

Blood Mountain by Brenda S. Tolian

Publication date: June 8th, 2022 by Raw Dog Screaming Press

 
In this mosaic of Southwestern Gothic Horror, a primordial goddess awakens deep within the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The mountain hungers for revenge as invaders leave her emaciated with their greed and brutality. She cries out for blood, infusing the minds of those who do not belong—twisting them outwardly into the dark forms of their true intentions.

An Under Sheriff struggles to grasp brittle threads of hope within the valley and mountains, his soul tormented by the unanswered questions of crimes he can’t explain and the dead and missing he could not help. The demented Red Women fracture the meaning of being maiden, mother, and crone within the shadows of twisted belief systems. Men and women devolve into the grotesque, drowning in their greed and violence transmuting into creatures too hideous to name. Others find seduction on her rocky hips and release within the baptism of her blood. The valley steeped in cults and crime hides something dark, where mirage plays with the senses, disappearances go unexplained, UFOs and creatures await watching in hunger.

This composite novel of interwoven stories and brief vignettes invites the reader to hear the hypnotic call of the Blood Mountain. Will she ask you into her vortex or swallow you whole?



There’s More of Us Than You Know, ed. Spencer Hamilton

 

Publication date: June 13, 2022 by Blood Rites Horror

 

We're here. All this time, lurking in the shadows. The queer experience has run wild in horror for decades, and there are those who would deny us our time in the spotlight, our time covered in blood. But no longer. We're stepping out of the shadows, and screaming till our throats shred:

There's more of us than you know.

This exciting new anthology brings stories from 12 brilliant minds within the LGBTQIA+ community together to celebrate queer horror. Our stories run the gamut, from overt queer themes to classic horror tales starring queer protagonists, from campy to literary to weird and every shadowy niche in between. We invite you to come along and allow us to terrify you.

But take comfort . . . you're not alone.



The Path of Thorns by A.G. Slatter

Publication date: June 14th, 2022 by Titan Books

 

Alone in the world, Asher Todd travels to the remote estate of Morwood Grange to become governess to three small children. Her sole possessions comprise a sea chest and a large carpet bag she hangs onto for dear life. She finds a fine old home, its inhabitants proud of their lineage and impeccable reputation, and a small village nearby. It seems an untroubled existence, yet there are portraits missing from the walls, locked rooms, and names excised from the family tree inscribed in the bible. In short order, the children adore her, she becomes indispensible to their father Luther in his laboratory, and her potions are able to restore the sight of granddame Leonora. Soon Asher fits in as if she’s always been there, but there are creatures that stalk the woods at night, spectres haunt the halls, and Asher is not as much a stranger to the Morwoods as it might at first appear.



 


The Hangman Feeds the Jackal: A Gothic Western by Coy Hall

Publication date: June 14th 2022 by Nosetouch Press

 

Elijah Valero is a gunfighter afflicted with terrifying hallucinations, including a pervasive one of The Hangman out to kill him.

Dogged by the relentless specter of the Hangman, Valero mistakenly kills innocent victims and is forced to hide in an abandoned monastery for his own safety and for those of others. Once there, he encounters far greater dangers than the imaginary Hangman, and gains a bid for redemption as he faces down some silver-hungry drifters out to terrorize a town for its riches. Fans of the Weird West and Gothic Horror will find satisfaction in THE HANGMAN FEEDS THE JACKAL. 




Boys, Beasts & Men by Sam J. Miller

Publication date: June 14th 2022 by Tachyon Publications

 

Despite his ability to control the ambient digital cloud, a foster teen falls for a clever con-man. Luring bullies to a quarry, a boy takes clearly enumerated revenge through unnatural powers of suggestion. In the aftermath of a shapeshifting alien invasion, a survivor fears that he brought something out of the Arctic to infect the rest of the world. A rebellious group of queer artists create a new identity that transcends even the anonymity of death.




Diet Riot: A Fatterpunk Anthology ed. Nico Bell and Sonora Taylor
 

Publication date: June 21st 2022 

"Diet Riot: A Fatterpunk Anthology" features twelve fat-positive horror tales of people who come into their own, celebrate their curves, and save the day. There are babysitters and bakers, thieves and roller derby stars. Young women unsure about their bodies meet demons and water spirits who offer assistance–in their own way, of course. Danger lurks in hospitals, in the mysterious occult shop in the local mall, and in a house filled with cats. Campers, trash collectors, and house flippers alike uncover nasty secrets underground. A myriad of horrors await you–none of which comes at the expense of fat bodies.



It’s time to reclaim the “f” word. 




Not Good for Maidens by Tori Bovalino

Publication date:  June 21st 2022 by Page Street Kids
 

Salem’s Lot meets The Darkest Part of the Forest in this horror-fantasy retelling of Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market.”

Lou never believed in superstitions or magic--until her teenage aunt Neela is kidnapped to the goblin market.

The market is a place Lou has only read about--twisted streets, offerings of sweet fruits and incredible jewels. Everything--from the food and wares, to the goblins themselves--is a haunting temptation for any human who manages to find their way in.

Determined to save Neela, Lou learns songs and spells and tricks that will help her navigate this dangerous world and slip past a goblin's defenses--but she only has three days to find Neela before the market disappears and her aunt becomes one of them forever.

If she isn't careful, the market might just end up claiming her too.




We Can Never Leave This Place by Eric LaRocca

Publication date: June 24th, 2022 by JournalStone

 
"When you're given a gift, something else gets taken away."

A precocious young girl with an unusual imagination is sent on an odyssey into the depths of depravity. After her father dies violently, young Mara is surprised to find her mother welcoming a new guest into their home, claiming that he will protect them from the world of devastation and destruction outside their door.

A grotesque and thrilling dark fantasy, We Can Never Leave This Place is a harrowing portrait of inherited grief and familial trauma.

The Clackity by Lora Senf

Publication date:  June 28th, 2022 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

 
Reminiscent of Doll Bones, this deliciously eerie middle grade novel tells the story of a girl who must enter a world of ghosts, witches, and monsters to play a game with deadly consequences and rescue her aunt.

Evie Von Rathe lives in Blight Harbor—the seventh-most haunted town in America—with her Aunt Desdemona, the local paranormal expert. Des doesn’t have many rules except one: Stay out of the abandoned slaughterhouse at the edge of town. But when her aunt disappears into the building, Evie goes searching for her.

There she meets The Clackity, a creature who lives in the shadows and seams of the slaughterhouse. The Clackity makes a deal with Evie to help get Des back in exchange for the ghost of John Jeffrey Pope, a serial killer who stalked Blight Harbor a hundred years earlier. Evie must embark on a journey into a strange otherworld filled with hungry witches, penny-eyed ghosts, and a memory-thief, all while being pursued by a dead man whose only goal is to add Evie to his collection of lost souls.