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Cult Following

From the author of Cursed Objects and The United States of Cryptids comes an eye-popping compendium of the most infamous, audacious, and dangerous cults in history

Have you ever wondered how smart, normal people end up enmeshed in extreme cults? Weird history expert J. W. Ocker strives to answer that question in Cult Following. Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about history’s most notorious cults–and the psychology of the people who join them–is packed into this accessible, engaging volume. Walk in the footsteps of the followers who were lured into these sinister groups, including:

  • Branch Davidians: Led by David Koresh, this cult was waiting out the apocalypse in 1993 when the FBI infamously raided their compound in Waco, Texas.
  • Narcosatanists: This cult of drug traffickers in 1980s Mexico was led by Adolfo de Jesús Constanzo, who believed he had magic powers and committed human sacrifice.
  • Brotherhood of the Seven Rays: The earliest known UFO cult, the infiltration and study of the Brotherhood by psychologists inspired the term “cognitive dissonance.”
  • Ho No Hana Sanpogyo: The founder, Hogen Fukunaga, claimed to be able to tell someone’s fortune by examining their feet.
  • Breatherianism: Breatherians believe that humans can live on air alone. Their founder, Wiley Brooks, claimed to have gone without food for nineteen years.
  • NXIVM: This twenty-first century cult attracted several members of Hollywood and engaged in sex trafficking, forced labor, and racketeering under the guise of personal development seminars.

In Cult Following, Ocker sheds light on the terrifying attraction of cults, demonstrating the elasticity of belief, the desperateness of belonging, and the tragedy of trust.

Posted by Gaby Iori

Horror for Weenies

A smart, funny crash course in 25 iconic horror movies, from Psycho to Hereditary, for people who love getting the reference but hate being scared.

You don’t have to miss out just because you don’t like to be frightened! Stop trying to read nonsensical Wikipedia plot summaries (we know you’re doing it), and let an expert tell you everything you need to know about the most influential horror films of the past 60 years—without a single jump scare or a drop of gore.

With a rundown of the history and significance of horror cinema, explanations of common tropes, and detailed entries on 25 important movies ranging from Night of the Living Dead to The Blair Witch Project to Get Out, Horror for Weenies will turn even the scarediest of cats into a confident connoisseur.

Each entry includes:

  • A detailed plot summary, with enough jokes that it won’t freak you out
  • Smart, illuminating analysis of the film’s themes and cultural significance
  • Descriptions of iconic scenes you definitely do not want to look at
  • Talking points for impressing even the biggest scary-movie buffs

Never get left out of a conversation again!

Posted by Gaby Iori

The Unmothers

In this raw and lyrical folk horror novel wrapped in a murder mystery, a journalist sent to a small town begins to unravel a dark secret that the women of the town have been keeping for generations.

Marshall is still trying to put the pieces together after the death of her husband. After she is involved in a terrible accident, her editor sends her to the small, backwards town of Raeford to investigate a clearly ridiculous rumor: that a horse has given birth to a healthy, human baby boy.

When Marshall arrives in Raeford, she finds an insular town that is kinder to the horses they are famous for breeding than to their own people. But when two horribly mangled bodies are discovered in a field—one a horse, one a human—she realizes that there might be a real story here.

As she’s pulled deeper into the town and its guarded people, her sense of reality is tipped on its head. Is she losing her grip? Or is this impossible story the key to a dark secret that has haunted the women of Raeford for generations?

Unbearably tense and utterly gripping, this atmospheric tale of female rage, bodily autonomy, and generational trauma hails the arrival of a masterful storyteller.

Posted by Christina Schillaci

Such a Bad Influence

For fans of Ashley Winstead, a razor-sharp debut about what happens when one of the first child stars of the social media age grows up . . . and goes missing.

Hazel Davis is drifting: she’s stalled in her career, living in a city she hates, and less successful than her younger sister @evelyn, a lifestyle influencer. Evie came of age on the family YouTube channel after a viral video when she was five. Ten years older and spotlight-averse, Hazel managed to dodge the family business—so although she can barely afford her apartment, at least she made her own way.

Evie is eighteen now, with a multimillion-dollar career, but Hazel is still protective of her little sister and skeptical of the way everyone seems to want a piece of her: Evie’s followers, her YouTuber boyfriend and influencer frenemies, and their opportunistic mother. So when Evie disappears one day during an unsettling live stream that cuts out midsentence, Hazel is horrified to have her worst instincts proven right.

As theories about Evie’s disappearance tear through the internet, inspiring hashtags, Reddit threads, and podcast episodes, Hazel throws herself into the darkest parts of her sister’s world to untangle the truth. After all, Hazel knows Evie better than anyone else . . . doesn’t she?

Posted by Christina Schillaci

The Z Word

“Sexy, scathing, delightful, and intimately devastating.”—Gretchen Felker-Martin, author of Manhunt and Cuckoo

Packed with action, humor, sex, and big gay feelings, The Z Word is the queer Zombieland you didn’t know you needed.

Chaotic bisexual Wendy is trying to find her place in the queer community of San Lazaro, Arizona, after a bad breakup—which is particularly difficult because her ex is hooking up with some of her friends. And when the people around them start turning into violent, terrifying mindless husks, well, that makes things harder. Especially since the infection seems to be spreading.

Now, Wendy and her friends and frenemies—drag queen Logan, silver fox Beau, sword lesbian Aurelia and her wife Sam, mysterious pizza delivery stoner Sunshine, and, oh yeah, Wendy’s ex-girlfriend Leah—have to team up to stay alive, save Pride, and track the zombie outbreak to its shocking source. Hopefully without killing each other first.

The Z Word is a propulsive, funny, emotional horror debut about a found family coming together to fight corporate greed, political corruption, gay drama, and zombies.

Posted by Christina Schillaci

The Sneaky Parent

More than 200 clever tips to help stubborn kids go to bed, clean their room, take a bath, and more—without tears or fights.

As a parent, you want nothing more than to keep your child fed, clothed, clean, healthy, and safe. Your kid, meanwhile, wants nothing more than to eat junk, go nude, stay up all night, and fall down a well. Begging doesn’t work. Bribery isn’t sustainable. You don’t want to shout. It’s time to get sneaky.

The Sneaky Parent offers a full playbook of clever ploys for beating kids at their own game. With the strategies outlined in this book, you can gently guide kids toward positive choices—while letting them think they’re the ones in control. Learn how to:

  • Boost oral hygiene by pretending a toothbrush is a paintbrush for teeth
  • Render long plane trips painless with a game of “Name That Cloud”
  • Calm separation anxiety by developing fun ways to wave goodbye
  • And dozens of other clever tactics, tricks, and games

With a little benevolent sneakiness, your child will enthusiastically try new foods, embrace bath time, go to sleep on a schedule, and other necessary but unpopular life skills. The best part? They’ll be sure it was their idea.

Previously published as How to Con Your Kid (2012) this edition includes gender-neutral language, updated screen time advice, and more for today’s parent.

Posted by Kim Ismael