Readers' Favorite

Featured Post

Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

July 16, 2023

3 Horror Novels to Read This Month

by MK French

The sun may be shining brightly, but there is darkness within the pages of these books. Whether you are looking for something frightenly good to read during a thunderstorm or only read horror in the brightest of sunny days, be sure to check out these books.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

The After-Death of Caroline Rand by Catherine Cavendish 

book cover of horror novel The After-Death of Caroline Rand by Catherine Cavendish
July 2023; Flame Tree Press; 978-1787587380
ebook, print (240 pages); horror

Sixties singer Caroline Rand supposedly killed herself in Canonbury Manor. During a weekend house party at the manor, Alli discovers that a great evil infests the building, and a cabal had controlled that evil for centuries. She's now going to feature prominently in Caroline's after-death.

While the reader knows that this is a horror novel, the characters don't realize it until it's much too late. In the meantime, there are odd happenings in the manor, somehow traveling to 1969 to meet the long-dead singers that Caroline had been friendly with while popular, and the creeping shadowy figure claiming Alli's soul as his. The oddities escalate as the weekend goes on, and Alli is in more and more trouble. She's spiritually tied to Caroline and doesn't even know about the cabal until the final third of the book. She tries to move through time or even leave the house, but things make less and less sense for her.

Horror usually means that innocent people are caught up in something bigger and more sinister than them. While sometimes people can fight back, it doesn't always work if they don't really understand what they're up against. Here, we never really get a clear explanation for the cabal or its purpose, other than it's evil and they alter or bypass death. Caroline and Alli are linked and caught in this web, ill-equipped to deal with the impending tragedy.

A Guide to the Dark by Meriam Metoui

book cover of young adult horror novel A Guide to the Dark by Meriam Metoui
July 2023; Henry Holt; 978-1250863218
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); YA horror

Mira and Layla are stranded on their spring break college tour road trip. Stuck at the Wildwood Motel in the middle of nowhere, Mira is haunted by nightmares of her dead brother. He's still there when she wakes up, but Layla doesn't see him. Layla is preoccupied by taking pictures of the place and growing feelings for Mira. They learn eight people died in their room, indicating there must be a connection between the deaths and the eerie things inside it. They just have to find the connection before Mira becomes the ninth.

The novel comes complete with photos that reflect the text, as Layla is a photographer. The creepy feeling is heightened by the odd things Mira feels, altered parts of the photos, and the chapters told from the Pull's POV.  We're introduced to people in town that might know something about the hotel or the people affected by it; we even see the murder wall of data in Layla's photos. The truth is bigger than they thought it was, with the Pull getting stronger over time. At the same time, Layla has her own guilt as she struggled with her love and the disapproval from her family. It was a story that sucked me in from the start and I had to keep reading until I was done. Fantastic story, with a hint of menace until the very end. 

Buy A Guide to the Dark at Amazon

Camp Damascus by Chuck Tingle

book cover of horror novel Camp Damascus by Chuck Tingle
July 2023; Tor Nightfire; 978-1250874627
audio, ebook, print (256 pages); horror

Neverton, Montana is a God-fearing community near Camp Damascus, the self-proclaimed “most effective” gay conversion camp in the country. Their success is anything but holy, however.

Opening the novel from Rose's point of view, we see the extreme conservatism of the Kingdom of the Pines, the tight-knit religious community whose leaders run the conversion camp. Strange things happen to her from the start of the novel, from seeing an old woman in uniform to coughing up a mass of flies. Her wishes and perceptions are ignored from the start, and she is expected to fall in line with what others want for her. Of course, she can't; we wouldn't have a novel if she did. The strange occurrences and misperception continues, with flashes of memory that she doesn't completely recognize; once she realizes what it means, her analytical mind turns to understanding what happened to her, and then to saving others caught in the same trap. She moves quickly to do so, even at risk to herself. 

Chuck Tingle is an internet icon for the many books he's written, and this is his first foray into horror and traditional publishing circles. From his own biography, "Chuck writes to prove love is real because love is the most important tool we have when resisting the endless cosmic void." Rose begins as a God-fearing girl with autistic quirks and special interests her parents want her to stop doing, and they quickly condemn her when she doesn't fall into line with what they want. But as she realizes over the course of the book, love isn't a horrible thing, no matter what form it takes. It's the hatred that leads to torture, isolation, and betrayals that is evil. Hypocrisy couched as faith is a terrible thing, and it's only by revealing the truth that the children at Camp Damascus can be free.

Buy Camp Damascus at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us. Get even more book news in your inbox, sign up for our newsletter today! Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


Post a Comment