Hey Laaaaadies!

Horror (and horror adjacent) books by badass ladies you should read for Women in Horror Month, or any month!



Women in Horror Month is underway, and there is no shortage of amazing spooky, eerie, bizarre reads written by women to get your skin crawling and heart racing! Below are just a handful that you should add to your reading list.




The Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn Kiste 

It’s the summer of 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio, and Phoebe Shaw and her best friend Jacqueline have just graduated high school, only to confront an ugly, uncertain future. Across the city, abandoned factories populate the skyline; meanwhile at the shore, one strong spark, and the Cuyahoga River might catch fire. But none of that compares to what’s happening in their own west side neighborhood. The girls Phoebe and Jacqueline have grown up with are changing. It starts with footprints of dark water on the sidewalk. Then, one by one, the girls’ bodies wither away, their fingernails turning to broken glass, and their bones exposed like corroded metal beneath their flesh.






HEXIS by Charlene Elsby

I'm not relentless. "Relentless" makes it sound like there's something called "relent" and that I'm lacking it. In that sense, I'm not relentless, but perhaps I'm unrelenting. I could relent if I wanted to. But he always has to die. I mean "always" in two senses: at all times and all of the time. I can't kill him all of the time. That would take too long. But all of the times I did, I did. I'd do it again. I could relent if I wanted to, but instead I'd do it again. If he's different, then he's the same and if he's the same, he's got to go. If he were different and not the same, then there would be two things and I'd only have to kill one of them. If only I only had to kill one of him. What a life I would live, if only I only had to kill him the one time. But death doesn't always do him in.




Cenote City by Monique Quintana

Lune’s mother cannot stop crying after all the hospitals shut down. She cries and cries and finally she is exiled to the cenote, where her tears endlessly fill the giant sink hole. She becomes a big tourist attraction. People come from miles to see Marcrina cry into the cenote—part prisoner, part carnival attraction, part saint, Marcrina’s story is one of heartbreak, love, and endurance. This is the story of Lune, of Marcrina, of Lune’s son Nico, and of a strange place called Cenote City, where the world of magic and the dead entwines with daily life in enchanting and unsettling ways





I Miss the World by Violet LeVoit

Set in and around Hollywood Forever Cemetery, this tense and mind-bending noir is Violet LeVoit at her finest: an unnerving, unpredictable and comic journey through deep trauma and glitzy nostalgic insanity.




Halloween Fiend by C.V. Hunt

Strang isn’t the small, quaint town it appears to be. It’s haunted every night by a creature the townsfolk refer to as Halloween. Once the sun sets each day, Halloween emerges to collect its treats: a small, live offering from each household. The residents comply because no one wants to be the target of Halloween’s tricks. But the nightmare of residing in Strang is nothing compared to the yearly ritual Halloween demands of the citizens on All Hallows’ Eve.




A Hawk in the Woods by Carrie Laben

When newscaster Abby Waite is diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness, she decides to do the logical thing... break her twin sister Martha out of prison and hit the road. Their destination is the Waite family cabin in Minnesota where Abby plans a family reunion of sorts. But when you come from a family where your grandfather frequently took control of your body during your youth, where your mother tried to inhabit your mind and suck your youthful energies out of you, and where so many dark secrets--and bodies, even--are buried, such a family meeting promises to be nothing short of complicated...




I Am Not Your Final Girl by Claire C. Holland

From Claire C. Holland, a timely collection of poetry that follows the final girl of slasher cinema - the girl who survives until the end - on a journey of retribution and reclamation. From the white picket fences of 1970s Haddonfield to the apocalyptic end of the world, Holland confronts the role of women in relation to subjects including feminism, sexuality, violence, and healing in the world of Trump and the MeToo movement. Each poem centers on a fictional character from horror cinema, and explores the many ways in which women find empowerment through their own perceived monstrousness.



The Making of Gabriel Davenport  by Beverly Lee

Beth and Stu Davenport moved to the sleepy English village of Meadowford Bridge to give their young son, Gabriel, an idyllic childhood. But one night a hidden, ancient darkness shatters their dream and changes their lives forever.
Years later, Gabriel searches for answers about his mysterious past. His life unravels as he discovers that the people he loves and trusts harbour sinister secrets of their own. As the line blurs between shadow and light; and he becomes the prize in a deadly nocturnal game, Gabriel must confront the unrelenting, malevolent force that destroyed his family all those years ago.
His choice: place his trust in a master vampire, or give himself to the malignant darkness.
Is there a lesser of two evils—and how do you choose?





The Worst is Yet to Come by S.P. Miskowski

In her final year at Clark Middle School, Tasha meets a strange, new classmate. Briar Kenny is the self-styled rebel Tasha wants to be, and the Davises are the kind of close-knit family Briar covets. A moment of unexpected violence spawns a secret between the two girls and awakens a mystery from the past.

Unknown to Tasha and Briar, their secret also attracts something monstrous from a forgotten corner of Skillute. The town is haunted by its history, scarred with the lingering spirit of broken and scattered families, abandoned real estate ventures, and old scores never settled between neighbors. But there's more to the place than memory and legend. Beneath the landscape something malignant rages, and it will stop at nothing to find a route into the physical world.





The Bone Weaver's Orchard by Sarah Read

He's run away home. That's what they say every time one of Charley Winslow's friends vanishes from The Old Cross School for Boys.

It's just a tall tale. That's what they tell Charley when he sees the ragged grey figure stalking the abbey halls at night.

When Charley follows his pet insects to a pool of blood behind a false wall, he could run and let those stones bury their secrets. He could assimilate, focus on his studies, and wait for his father to send for him. Or he could walk the dark tunnels of the school's heart, scour its abandoned passages, and pick at the scab of a family's legacy of madness and murder.





Something Borrowed, Something Blood Soaked by Christa Carmen

A young woman’s fears regarding the gruesome photos appearing on her cell phone prove justified in a ghastly and unexpected way. A chainsaw-wielding Evil Dead fan defends herself against a trio of undead intruders. A bride-to-be comes to wish that the door between the physical and spiritual worlds had stayed shut on All Hallows’ Eve. A lone passenger on a midnight train finds that the engineer has rerouted them toward a past she’d prefer to forget. A mother abandons a life she no longer recognizes as her own to walk up a mysterious staircase in the woods.




The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history....Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of-a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history. 

The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known-and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself-to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive. What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern world? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed-and that he has lived on, century after century, pursuing his own unknowable ends? 






The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

Some doors are locked for a reason.
                  
When Elsie married handsome young heir Rupert Bainbridge, she believed she was destined for a life of luxury. But pregnant and widowed just weeks after their wedding, with her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie has only her late husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. Inside her new home lies a locked door, beyond which is a painted wooden figure—a silent companion—that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. The residents of the estate are terrified of the figure, but Elsie tries to shrug this off as simple superstition—that is, until she notices the figure’s eyes following her.





F4 by Larissa Glasser

A cruise ship on the back of a sleeping kaiju. A transgender bartender trying to come terms with who she is. A rift in dimensions known as The Sway. A cruel captain. A storm of turmoil, insanity and magic is coming together and taking the ship deep into the unknown. What will Carol the bartender learn in this maddening non-place that changes bodies and minds alike into bizarre terrors? What is the sleeping monster who holds up the ship trying to tell her? What do Carol’s fractured sense of self and a community of internet trolls have to do with the sudden pull of The Sway?




The Witch's Trinity by Erika Mailman


In 1507, when a severe famine strikes a small town in Germany, a friar arrives from a large city, claiming that the town is under the spell of witches in league with the devil. He brings with him a book called the Malleus Maleficarum—“The Witch’s Hammer”—a guide to gaining confessions of witchcraft, and promises to identify the guilty woman who has brought God’s anger upon the town, burn her, and restore bounty.
Güde Müller suffers stark and frightening visions—recently she has seen things that defy explanation. No one in the village know this, and Güde herself worries that perhaps her mind has begun to wander—certainly she has outlived all but one of her peers in Tierkinddorf. Yet of one thing she is absolutely certain: She has become an object of scorn and a burden to her son’s wife. In these desperate times her daughter-in-law would prefer one less hungry mouth at the family table. As the friar turns his eye on each member of the tiny community, Güde dreads what her daughter-in-law might say to win his favor.

This list only scratches the surface of the quality reads available, and if you want more I can't recommend the amazing Ladies of Horror Fiction enough! They are devoted to highlighting and uplifting the works of women in horror, and are an invaluable resource to readers and authors alike.

And remember, February is Women in Horror Month, but there's nothing stopping you from celebrating year round!


(And for a little bonus, here's what I’m reading this month!)

*Lord of Thundertown by OF Cieri
*Hairspray and Switchblades by V. Castro
*Forest Underground by Lydian Faust
*Benny Rose: The Cannibal King by Hailey Piper
*The Secret Name by Eve Harms
*Come Closer by Sara Gran
*Loteria by Cina Pelayo
*Fortune Box by Madeleine Swan




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