Hi everyone! I hope you’re all well! I visited a local bookshop today and I picked up some great queer books – it was so much fun! Today I’m back with another recommendations post, this time for queer horror! Now, I’m a huge wimp, a scaredy-cat if you will. I don’t watch horror movies though they’re one of my girlfriend’s favourite genres (though to be fair I don’t watch movies in general) and I’m really not one for gore. That scarab beetle scene in The Mummy haunted me for years. But I do, for some reason, love a good, diverse horror novel (except if they have zombies, I am stupidly scared of them!), so, I thought I’d share some queer ones with you today so you have plenty of time to choose some of your favourites, ready for your Halloween TBR!
First up are some of my personal favourites that I’ve read over the past few years – some that I’m sure you’re already familiar with, and others that might be new to you! First up is In the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant. This was arguably the first horror novel I ever read and I made the mistake of primarily reading it all alone on a train at night! This is set on a ship in the middle of Mariana’s Trench as a team are researching and creating a documentary about the supposed existence of mermaids that killed the last crew who came there to film. There’s a wonderful amount of diversity among the characters in this book and there were some deliciously gory moments as well as a few jump scares! For lovers of short stories, I highly recommend Things We Say in the Dark by Kirsty Logan. Kirsty Logan is an amazing Scottish writer who has authored several sapphic books, and this too features many stories with established sapphic relationships. These are more the lingering kind of horror that settles deep in your bones and it features elements of Scottish folklore among its pages. It’s honestly one of the best short story collections I’ve ever read. If you want a quick dive into the horror genre, I recommend picking up Yellow Jessamine by Caitlin Starling. This is a gorgeously atmospheric historical horror following a shipping magnate when the members of her ship’s crew one by one fall ill by means of a mystery illness, and their gaining on her house. This is very subtly sapphic and the horror keeps ramping up and up as you keep reading!
Plain Bad Heroines is a pretty well known tome that I think would be the perfect read to dive into over the summer, as it makes you feel like you’re wading through sticky sweet, rotting fruit with wasps buzzing round your head the whole time your reading it. This has a dual timeline of both present day the early 1900s and features some amazing characters that you both love and hate for the entirety of the book. I really recommend the audiobook of this one as the narrator does a fantastic job! For those who love a good bit of gore, I really recommend My Lord by L.B. Shimaira. This is polyamorous bisexual vampire horror erotica at its best – it’s gruesome in its gory details and doesn’t shy away from taboo topics like cannibalism and torture. This one is not for the faint of heart but is definitely worth a read! Sticking to the vampire theme, with a bit less gore we have A Dowry of Blood by S. T. Gibson which is so deserving of all of the glowing reviews it’s receiving! This features a really intriguing writing style with absolutely gorgeous prose and, aside from the horror aspect, deals with issues such as abusive relationships. If you love gorgeous gothic horror, this one would be perfect for you!
Next up are some books that were released either in or prior to 2020. First up, in terms of horror anthologies, we have Wicked Things edited by Jae and Astrid Ohletz. These are lesbian Halloween short stories – some which are fantasy and some which are horror. This would be great, again, if you’re new to the genre and just want to dip your toes into it, and since these authors are primarily romance authors, it’s great if you love that writing style but want to branch into new genres! Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado comes to me very highly recommended by friends both online and IRL! This is another short story collection full of horrifying stories about women’s lives and the violence that they face. Another well known and loved sapphic horror by Caitlin Starling is The Luminous Dead. This follows a cave diver and one of her team members who is purposely keeping information from her, leaving you with a constant, lingering dread as the tight dark underwater spaces get more and more dangerous.
In spite of it’s light and pretty cover, Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin is very far from being that in its plot. This is about mysterious disappearances, a house that isn’t what it seems, intriguing magic, and that cloying, heavy summer heat combined with sapphic spookiness! We’re back with the vampires again with Blood Countess by Lana Popović which is a historical YA horror set in 16th century Hungary with gorgeous writing, lowly maids falling in love, and a dark and gruesome Countess looking over it all. Finally, for those who are fans of dark academia, Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas is perfect for you! This follows a Black queer undergraduate student as she finds out a secret lurking around a mysterious group of students at her isolated and insular school that might lead to a darker undercurrent of the school as a whole.
Terrifying Twenty-twenty-one Tomes
Finally, we have some recent and upcoming queer horror releases! If you’re looking for some horrific monsters try What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo. This follows a girl who escapes home from her boarding school after a terrible incident only to find that she doesn’t really fit in with her family anymore – her family who are monsters who prowl throughout the woods surrounding her house and read fortunes in the entrails of birds. House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland follows Iris who, alongside her two older sisters, has a moon shaped scar on her throat from a mysterious incident in her childhood. When one of Iris’ sisters goes missing she must confront this past, as well as the gruesome occurrences that seem to be following her, in order to find her again. If you’re a sci-fi fan, the Lonely Receiver graphic novel is for you. This is a subtly gory graphic novel following a young woman after the AI wife that was made specially for her ups and leaves her and shows the ways in which she deals with the loss. The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass follows the titular character – one of the only Black boys at his prestigious prep school – as he becomes haunted by one of the many ghosts he can see – a school shooter – and as bodies start piling up, his high school life becomes all about survival.
On the subject of ghosts, The Dead and the Dark is an upcoming debut novel following the daughter of two famous ghost hunters as they arrive in Snakebite, Oregon after teenagers are going missing and turning up dead, and unusual weather is becoming more and more common. She teams up with a local girl whose boyfriend was one of the first to go missing to find out what’s going on. The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters combines witches, horror and monsters as Natasha teams up with a witch, Della, after her sister goes missing and the main culprit is Della’s mother who was turned into a monster after a spell gone wrong. Finally, To Break a Covenant by Alison Ames is set in a haunted ex-mining town where people are going sleepwalking, having horrific night terrors and hearing voices that no one else can. When several ghost hunters can’t figure out the cause of it, three teenage girls decide to take matters into their own hands and enter the mines.
I hope this gave you some new books to check out, or at least gave you an extra push to check out some that you were a bit sceptical about before! Tomorrow I’ll be back with a review of a very highly anticipated sapphic historical romance, but until then, stay safe!