Archive for October, 2016

Natural Born Predators and House of Wax: 2 short vampire stories by Bree Pierce

October 31, 2016 - 8:58 pm No Comments

Natural Born Predators by Bree Pierce

Published 20th September 2016

51 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

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This short story is a remake of Beauty and the Beast. Frey, (the beast) is a God who has a gift of controlling the weather, but losing the love of his life turned him into a depressing scary beast. Bell (Beauty) is a vampire hunter. She meets Frey when she rescues her father who went to his castle to ask for help with the growing population of vampires. The instance they meet Frey is a changed man and the story of how Beauty tamed the Beast is told.

I enjoyed this reading this story and because it is a short story it is a quick read. Bell was a strong girl and although young was very mature for her age. She did not realise the hold that she had over Frey as she had only used to her beauty to lure vampires out to kill. I enjoyed how she reacted when Frey gave her some new weapons and it reminding me of a child on Christmas Day, she proved herself whilst battling the vampires and stood up to the chauvinistic hunters that protected the village.

Frey is portrayed as a ferocious beast but when he meets Bell, acts more like a lost little boy. Although he knows she is protecting her village he does not want her to put her life in danger and the little gifts he gives are not just to show his love but to also protect her.

The is a great short story and would love to read more about Bell as she would sure to have many more adventures

 

House of Wax by Bree Pierce

Published 12th April 2016

48 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

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When vampires try taking over a small village, they are dispatched in a very creative way. Jump forward 100 years and they have escaped, it is left to Odin Blacksaint the original hero’s great grandson to save the day.

Odin did not believe in myths and folklore and did not even know how to fight, but what I did enjoy is how even with all the doubt he still stepped up to try and save the village learning about his ancestors in the process.

Maelstrom was your typical evil vampire who wanted to seek revenge. Surprisingly my favourite character in the book was Naiad a young nun who was turned by Maelstrom. She showed kindness from the start and stood up to evil. The ending has left it open for another book and I would love to read more about Naiad.

The Exorcist

October 31, 2016 - 7:51 pm No Comments

The Exorcist
Birmingham Rep
Halloween 2016
Reviewed by: Theresa Derwin
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It’s Halloween month; October, the month we celebrate all things scary, so I booked tickets to see a showing of The Exorcist in stage at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre Thu 27th Oct 2016.
I hadn’t looked at the cast, and was only interested in seeing a modern interpretation of the novel by William Peter Blatty and the film (starring Max Von Sydow and Linda Blair) at the theatre. So, on a surpringly mild Oct afternoon, I set off with my friend Jason to watch The Exorcist.
And what a surprise it was!
Some of you are bound to know the gist of the story; Father Merrin in the Middle East fights a battle to exorcise a demon.
Back in the USA, actress Chris is concerned about the behaviour of her ten year old daughter Regan, who is talking to ‘imaginary friend’ Captain Howdy, swearing, stealing and urinating.
Is it a case of a bad child with a psychiatric issue, or is it possession!?
Father Damien Karras (Adam Garcia in the stage production) has lost his faith and takes a lot to be convinced about Regan’s ‘condition’, and has to decide whether to approach the Church for consideration of an exorcism.
Now, I’m going to start with an overheard conversation;
“I don’t think much of the mother, she was a bit hysterical.”
Hello! Swearing, urinating, crucifix stealing child who can speak in other tongues including Latin. The mother, Chris (incidentally played by Jenny Seagrove), is distraught, scared, embarrassed and frightened to death her child is going to die. Apart from that, it was excellently played.
Next; “It’s just shock tactics, there’s no real drama or dialogue.”
Excuse me!
This adaptation, which differs from the film somewhat, demonstrates effective use of tension, modern updates to fit the 21st Century and exploration of many themes including loss, faith, belief, family, beauracracy, love and fear. The dialogue was smack on and the delivery was perfect.
The whole cast was exemplary to be honest, with stand out performances by Clare Louise as Regan, playing at least half her age and miming with skill to the demonic voice recorded, which I believe is Ian McKellan. Her use of body language transforming he from ten year old innocent to demonic host was astounding.
Also notable were Peter Bowles as Father Merrin, Adam Garcia as Father Karras, as Burke and Jenny Seagrove as Chris.
The only issue were literally technical. At one point the recording broke down for a couple if minutes, but this was quickly rectified. As for the set and special effects; bloody well done!
Head spinning, switches from location, blood gushing, lighting, the wallpaper in Refan’s bedroom in particular, were beautifully done.
At one point I from that emotional tug at my heartstrings and lump in my throat at Karras’ turmoil and Regan’s deterioration.
A brilliant production I would recommend to those who are not squeamish.
4/5

Some Will Not Sleep by Adam Nevill

October 31, 2016 - 7:19 pm 1 Comment

Some Will Not Sleep by Adam Nevill

Published by Ritual Limited on 31st October 2016

250 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

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Some Will Not Sleep contains 11 short stories, 11 stories that takes you different times and places. 11 stories that will give you your fix of the macabre.

I have wanted to read this book since I attended Adam’s book launch at FantasyCon and I was not disappointed.  This book is well written and each story leaves you wanting more, making it a quick and exciting read. I enjoyed this book so much but for reviewing purposes I will write about the few that stood out for me

Where Angels Come In: A story about a young lad’s adventure to a derelict building and the consequences when he got there. Like most derelict buildings there is always a story accompanies them adding to the suspense and this building was no different. Written in the POV of the child, this just added to the suspense of the story. I enjoyed the added touch of the creepy statues and throughout the story the evil was implied but was never fully revealed. With the strange grandma, trying to get the story out of the boy made this an eerie read.

Yellow Teeth: What would you do if you met someone from way back and he ended up moving in with you. This is what happened to the narrator of this story when Ewan an old acquaintance from University, moves in and slowly takes over his flat with his beliefs and his unhygienic ways. Whilst I was reading this story I could imagine the smell of the flat, could hear the ramblings of Ewan who was probably the most disgusting houseguest I have ever read about.

Doll Hands: A story about a change creature that had a large head and tiny dolls hand, working at the Gruut Huis an elite apartment for the rich, where fine dining were the humans. I enjoyed this story because all the characters were unnatural and freakish and the protagonist became the unlikely hero.

What every story you read first you can guarantee a story that will make your skin crawl, a story that will play on your fears and as the title implies when you read this some will not sleep. A brilliant read

 

Fight Like a Girl edited by Roz Clarke and Joanne Hall

October 30, 2016 - 11:46 am No Comments

Fight Like a Girl edited by Roz Clarke and Joanne Hall

Authors- Roz Clarke, Kelda Crich, KT Davies, Dolly Garland, KR Green, Joanne Hall, Julia Knight, Kim Larkin-Smith, Juliet McKenna, Lou Morgan, Gale Sebold, Sophie E Tallis, Fran Terminiello, Danie Ware and Nadine West

Published by Kristell Ink, Grimbold Books on 6th March 2016

249 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

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This book has a good selection of stories for fantasy and Sci-Fi lovers, each story set in different land or time, but one thing in common, each story had a woman that was not afraid to kick some ass. Every woman had a story to tell whether they were a sword for hire, a mother, a soldier or just fighting to survive, they had to act on their wits and they were there to prove that there is nothing wrong in fighting like a girl.

So not to go on for ever I am going to review the stories that really grabbed my attention.

The Coyote by KR Green: Set in dystopian Brighton, Kai is a young girl with a very good sense of hearing. This talent had helped through many a scrape. A member of the Circlet, Kai, is a highly trained fighter and is on a mission to try and bring peace to the Buddhist community. Throughout, this short story was full of action, with Kai relying on her hearing to get the mission done, this made it an intense read.

Vocho’s Night out by Julia Knight: Vocho and Kacha are brother and sister, working for the guild, they are hired to protect a mysterious cargo. After a failed attempt to steal the cargo, they work together to find the real reason why they were hired. Like most siblings they are in competition with each other to be the best and as both are experienced sword fighters this does get interesting. I found this story to be a fun read, and the ending was comical. This has been a good introduction to the Duellists trilogy which I now want to read.

Fire and Ash by Gaie Sebold: Riven is a soldier who is suffering with PTSD. The last of the Dancers, a renowned troop she lost all her colleagues in one epic battle. Not wanting to go on any more with her life, she prepares to die until a ring changes her mind. Whilst reading this story, I felt really sorry for Riven with everything she went through, but whilst on this journey her character changes to determination, she gets stronger and you are willing her to survive and to learn to live.

A quick mention about the cover, when I saw this I had to smile to myself as when I was little girl I used to have a book of paper dolls to dress up and I wish that my dolls had outfits like these on the cover.

I must be honest: I had not read anything before by these authors and I have kept asking myself why not.  Each story was well written and celebrates women. Now every time I hear you fight like a girl, I will know that it is a compliment as if I or any other girl fights like the girls in these stories then they will be strong, resourceful and not take any nonsense.

A great collection of stories that will keep your interest from the first word

The Unforgiven Anthology by J.L. Clayton,  R.L. Weeks,  K.L. Humphreys,  Becca Moree,  R.B. Wood, and Steven Evans 

October 30, 2016 - 8:16 am No Comments

The Unforgiven Anthology by J.L. Clayton, R.L. Weeks,  K.L. Humphreys,  Becca Moree,  R.B. Wood, and Steven Evans

Published 30th  October 2016

125 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

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The anthology consists of 6 short dark stories.

 

Seeing Red by JL Clayton: If you have every read Carrie then you will understand Challis’s life. One horrific event changed Challis’s for ever but when she meets Natalya, her life completely changed. Whilst a short story Challis character develops from a meek and mild to strong and determined in just a couple of pages. This story gives scope to a series and I for one would love to read it.

Twisted Insanity by RL Weeks: Jacob has been stuck in a psychiatric unit for 10 years after being charged with murder. Convincing the doctors, he is now sane, Jacob is released into the outside world. His first stop is to see his daughter and ex-wife, but when he sees them things are not how he planned he decided to take action. The twists the author puts into this story, makes it a page turner. The mind games played on Gale were priceless. The ending was unexpected, a great read.

Truth or Dare, by K.L. Humphreys: When a woman goes missing after finding a severed hand, The Missing Persons Unit, knows they have not got long to save her. Becca cannot believe who the madman is. This story introduces you to a new police team who from the start really bond to find the serial killer. Although I was surprised who the serial killer was, I enjoyed who the team got to the reason of why he did it. This story leads nicely to a series and I would like to know more about the unit.

Hell House, by Becca Moree: Erin decides to celebrate Halloween differently by visiting the Carnival of darkness. But what she was watching was it real or make believe. This was one creepy story, the scenes in the hell house were so descriptive your felt as you are following Erin’s journey.  I would not be entering that Hell House if I had all the money in the world.

Poison Pen, by R.B.Wood: Marty was a struggling author who was battling his wife and literacy agent until he made a deal with a foreign stranger and received a mysterious pen. I loved the idea of having this pen and at the beginning you do feel sorry for Marty, however thanks to the twist the author gives this story you hope that Marty gets his just desert.

White Wedding: Reckoning, by Steven Evans: Jess is about to go into an arranged marriage, set up by her rich abusive father. His only interests are his wealth and making a good impression. Jess’s only friend is Jen her doll that she has had since she was 8 years old. Jen hears all her problems and sees all her tears and hearing Jess pleas for help, decides to inflict revenge. Every little girl had a doll that she would tell her secrets to but if Chucky was a girl then it would be Jen, the revenge inflicted was brutal but poetic. I was backing Jen all the way and even when the acts were done she always made sure her best friend was safe and protected. You even get a HEA.  Another great short story by this author.

Although I have read other stories written by these authors I was still surprised at the quality of the stories. Every story kept my interest and left me wanting to read more. I love dark horror so the graphic scenes did not affect me, in fact these scenes made the stories. Another brilliant anthology from the minds of 6 great authors.