The Fright Stuff

New Beginnings are Always Scary, Especially in Horror Novels

Hi horror fans! It’s me, Emily, your friend in all things frightful. It’s finally December, which is pretty much my second favorite month after October. What, a horror girlie who loves the holidays? Yes, ma’am, that is me.

(Speaking of holidays! We have a new paperback level at TBR. If you (or a reader you know) are just over-carrying around bulky hardcovers or are looking for a more budget-friendly option, we’ve got you. Check out all the offerings at, and give personalized reading recommendations customized for any and every reader.)

But more than Christmas, do you know what I love? New Year’s Eve.

Apparently this is weird, but New Year’s Eve is right up there with Halloween for me. Like Halloween, NYE is a chance to get dressed up and have fun without all the familial pressures. And on top of that, I love how optimistic NYE is. It’s about fresh starts and looking to a new year with a fresh perspective. So in honor of my favorite holiday coming up in just a few more weeks, we’re going to look at some horror that’s also about fresh starts today. Are you with me?

Bookish Goods

scaredy cats calendar

Scaredy Cats Calendar by BeccabyHandStudio

Speaking of the new year, it’s time for a new calendar. And I love this one because it brings together my two loves: cats and horror. This 12-month calendar includes 12 original hand-painted horror cat images, including The Bride of Chewy, Dracuclaw, Friday The Purrteenth, The Exorhiss, Krampuss, and more! The calendar is 12×18″ and includes a small hole for hanging. $25.

New Releases

cover image for Perfect Little Lives

Perfect Little Lives by Amber and Danielle Brown

This horror/thriller follows Simone, whose mother was murdered when she was only 13. Her father was convicted of the crime, and Simone’s life was turned upside down. Ten years later, Simone is trying to move on with her life. She makes a living writing book reviews and is starting to get involved in a serious relationship. But she still believes in her father’s innocence, and when her childhood next-door neighbor Hunter approaches her with new information — that Hunter’s father was having an affair with Simone’s mother — Simone becomes convinced Hunter’s father is to blame for her mother’s death.

the folly book cover

The Folly by Gemma Amor

Gothic horror fans, take note: this one is for you. And it’s another one about a father wrongfully(?) convicted. Morgan knows that her father didn’t murder her mother, so when he is finally released from prison, Morgan is overjoyed. Looking for a fresh start (this is going to be a theme this week), Morgan and her father become caretakers at a castle on the Cornish coastline known only as “The Folly.” But their peaceful existence is quickly destroyed by a new visitor: a woman who looks, acts, and speaks exactly like Morgan’s mother.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

The Spite House cover

The Spite House by Johnny Compton

New beginnings are always scary, and that’s why a family looking for a fresh start is a pretty standard trope for horror fiction. Here are a couple of novels that do it well. Eric Ross is looking for a fresh start after a family trauma sent him on the run with his two daughters. Unsure of where to turn and desperate to find a job, Eric feels like his prayers are answered when he sees a position advertised for a caretaker of the Masson House. The Masson House is notoriously haunted, but this only draws Eric to the house more. His family has their own ties with the supernatural, and Eric is looking for answers.

White Smoke cover image

White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

You’ll probably see me recommend this book a lot because I love it so much, so listen up and read it! You won’t regret it! Marigold’s family moves to a new place in a new town in the hopes of starting over (seeing a pattern here?). At first, when Marigold and her family move to the picture-perfect house on Maple Street, it seems too good to be true. But Marigold can’t help but overhear the whispers about her neighborhood at her new school. And then there’s the house itself, where things keep disappearing, and the family feels strange presences watching them around every corner.

Happy December! Thanks so much for tuning in, and I can’t wait to share more horror with you next week. Same time, same place? In the meantime, you can follow me (and message me) on Instagram at emandhercat. Sweet dreams, horror fans!