Archive for October, 2017

Collected Halloween Horror Shorts: Trick ‘r Treat

October 31, 2017 - 8:02 pm No Comments

Collected Halloween Horror Shorts: Trick ‘r Treat
Published by KJK Publication on 1st October 2017
304 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies


With a title like this, I knew that this was a must read for Halloween. A collection of 16 short stories all with the Halloween theme. This anthology was a treat to read, whilst I was familiar with quite a few of the authors, I did not know what to expect from this book.
A few stories that jumped out at me were as follows:

Black Widow by Christina Bergling: One of the enjoyments of Halloween is “what costume to wear” Dane only had one enjoyment, to see how many girls he could sleep with to tick off his costume bucket list. He knew that his look was in, when he got an invitation. Attending the party, he saw Charlotte dressed as a spider, and the next one on his bucket list. But was it a night of passion. This story reels you in, Charlotte comes across as a sweet girl and you could see why Dane would zone in on her. The twist at the end shows just what a sweet girl she is.

Girlfriend by Andrew Lennon: Simon had finished just broken up with his girlfriend Susan. She was a bit of a control freak, so he was looking at getting his life back together. After a fatal phone call, was his life ever going to get back on track. I felt sorry for Simon, you could tell that Susan wore the trousers in the relationship and when they broke up, it was like a new start for him. I could not put this story down as I just wanted to know what happened next. If this book was made into a film, it would be riddled with jump scares. A ghost story, where there are no winners.

The Coffin Man by Mark Lukens: Every little village has its own urban legend, and the little village when Dennis and Kara were staying was no different. Living in Kara’s grandma’s house, Dennis is soon bought up to speed with the legend. Whatever you do, do not look out the window if you hear noises, just in case the Coffin Man sees you. The telling of the legend, made this a creepier story, but the ending was a surprise.

Don’t Fear the Reaper by Steven Stacy: If you have watched Halloween, then you would have heard of the surname Strode, but what if Laurie died and her younger brother Tommy was in an asylum for her murder. Amber her other sister still hated Halloween, but this year she had a plan to draw out the real killer, but on this Halloween, is the real killer revealed. This story is a real slasher story, the tension is built up to Halloween night. The death scenes are bloody and intense read.

Halloweenland by Kevin J Kennedy: What Halloween book is not complete without a scary carnival story, and I was not disappointed. Both lovers of Halloween, Zak and Wendy were really excited as Halloweenland was coming to their town. On the day of the carnival they both got up early, so they could enjoy the whole day, but as the night draws in, the carnival becomes darker and the trip through the funhouse had an unexpected ending. As soon as Zak and Wendy exit the funhouse, the action starts with killer pumpkin clowns and strange dog creatures, you can imagine Zak and Wendy fighting for their lives. Although this is a horror story it is also a coming of age and the relationship between Zak and Wendy was so sweet and innocent.

I loved this book and whilst I have only reviewed a few of the stories, I can honestly say I loved them all. I have one question what holiday anthology will Kevin Kennedy come up with next. A great horror read.

Tales from the Lake Vol4: The Horror Anthology

October 30, 2017 - 11:22 pm No Comments

Tales from the Lake Vol4: The Horror Anthology
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 27th October 2017
266 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies


If you want something to read this Halloween, then you can’t go wrong with this anthology. 24 tales of horror, suspense and mystery that will feed your addiction of horror.
With so many stories to choose from, I found it hard to choose my favourites, but I will give it a go.
When the Dead Come Home by Jennifer Loring: Trevor and Kate needed a fresh start after losing their child. Whilst Trevor was trying to move on, Kate was suffering with severe depression. As the story progressed you could feel Kate’s guilt getting worse, and she felt that the whole world was against her. This was a harrowing story about grief and was written with so much compassion, even after I finished the story, it was still thinking about it.
Whenever You Exhale, I Inhale by Max Booth III: Tom and Michael were young lovers, it did not bother anyone except Michael’s dad, a bully when he had a drink. This story is about the fatal night that Michael’s grandma died. This story had me gripped from the start, Michael’s dad was dying to fight someone, and you knew something bad was going to happen. It was magical read and was beautifully written.
Grave Secrets by JG Faherty: Eric was chasing ghosts, 25 years ago his brother Wade went missing in Rocky Point. Now Eric and his son Arthur were going back there to find out what happened. This was full of mystery and suspense as whilst you knew something had happened to Wade. Following Eric’s footsteps, you find out what happened to Wade.
End of the Hall by Hunter Liguire: Davey was being visited by a lady in red, but her visits helped tell a story. I loved this traditional ghost story, Davey was a lovely boy, who became the hero.
The Story of Jessie and Me by Timothy Johnson: A post-apocalyptic story of a young lad and his friend Jessie. What I am still amazed at, was how much went into this short story. The story spanned over years and told of their survival against the military, dangerous men and nature. Action packed from the start.
Dust Devils by Mark Cassell: When a driving instructor went to pick up his last leaner, he did not expect to get involved in a mystical monster attack. Having read other work by this author I was not disappointed with the story. An ancient monster, a deranged man and bloody death scenes, all things that I love in a story.
With every anthology that I read from Crystal Lake, I still find more new authors to read. This is a must read for horror fans. Another great publication and looking forward to the book 5.

Dark Satanic Mills (Great British Horror #2)

October 24, 2017 - 9:49 pm No Comments

Dark Satanic Mills (Great British Horror #2)
Published 29th September 2017 by Black Shuck Books
292 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies


As the nights are drawing in, there is nothing better than curling up with a good book. Dark Satanic Mills is one such book. We have all grown up with stories about monsters and urban legends, stories that have you looking over your shoulder, long after you have finished reading it. So, find a comfy chair, dim the lights and get ready to read 11 short stories that tick all the boxes.
Here are a few of my favourites:

Tools of the Trade by Paul Finch: Adam an investigative journalist has a meeting that if the information got out, will put a lot of people in a state of frenzy and will net him millions. Dick, a lowly council worker has a passion, he loved the paranormal. Whilst doing a séance in an unused hotel, he comes across an item that could solve one of the oldest cold cases ever. The story picked up intensity the moment they went into the hotel, being an abandoned building, you get the unexplained noises and the shadows that grow without light source. From the start all they had in mind was the amount of money they would make, at the end they had other plans with the items.

The Lies We Tell by Charlotte Bond: Cathy had a regular family, 2 children and a hardworking husband. The one golden rule in their house was no lies. In control of her life, she got what she wanted, but a constant clicking noise was threatening to ruin her life. Cathy was an ambitious working mom, although quite selfish. The persistent clicking noise was constant throughout the story and played with your imagination. One thing that gets you thinking is how many little white lies are told in a 24hrs.

Sleeping Black by Marie O’Regan: When Seth inherited a large Victorian house from his grandfather, a chimney sweep by trade, but as this is the 20th century the chimneys are cleaned by machinery. Whilst this is a ghost story, it explains the horrendous conditions that young boys went through cleaning the chimneys in Victorian times.

/d’ʒʌst/ by Carole Johnstone: When pairs of hands are left with notes written using the International Phonetic Alphabet, DCI Rafiq is at a loss. She has no idea who the victims are and had not a clue what the notes mean. Calling on the help of James Gavin and expert in IPA, she is involved in a cat and mouse situation. Not only had she a serial killer to catch, she was also trying to sort out her personal life. Before I read this story, I had never heard of IPA and I had to google all about it. Whilst the murders played a part in the story, the notes and DCI Logan’s life where the reason behind the story. The way the notes were explained added to the story, but for me I loved the twist at the end, where the killer was revealed and their reasonings behind the murders.

Great British Horror #1 was such a good read, I did wonder how it could be topped. But Steve Shaw has surpassed himself. A good choice of authors with a variety of stories. A must read for horror lovers. I for one hope there will be a Great British Horror #3

The Change 1-3 by Guy Adams

October 20, 2017 - 7:59 pm No Comments

The Change 1: London: Orbital by Guy Adams
Published by Solaris on 13th July 2017
122 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies


The world has changed, after an appearance in the sky, what it was no one knows. Howard wakes up on the road to London, with no memory of who he is or what has happened. Hubcap comes to his aid after rescuing him from a pigeon attack, where the pigeons had black tentacles. This was the start of a special friendship.
As the story progresses you get introduced to the group that Hubcap lived with and they were a very diverse group. Tank and Tiger leaders of the group were not what you expect and they ideas for Banquet night were ingenious. Whilst they lived in a dystopian world the group have camaraderie and fun. Whilst there are hints to what is attacking the people, it is near the end when the monster is introduced. With its mixture of steampunk and sci-fi, it attacks brutally and without guilt. An added touch was the back story on how the monster developed.
This story is fast paced and from the moment Howard wakes you are captivated, as you want to know what happened to the world. A good start to what is going to be an interesting series

The Change 2: New York: The Queen of Coney Island
Published by Solaris on 13th July 2017
127 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies


Moving to another country, this story follows Grace as she journeys through New York. Her goal is to get to Rickers island, but she needs the permission from the Queen to cross the river.
Most of the people she encountered on her journey to Coney Island were dangerous and she went out of her way to avoid them, but when she met an eccentric man who thought he was God, her instincts told her was harmless and, yet another strange friendship was formed.
When Grace and God arrived at Coney Island it was like some strange carnival and freak show all rolled into one. The descriptive writing gave you a clear idea on how Coney Island had developed since the change. One favourite scene was Grace’s fine dining on the rollercoaster. The Queen reminded me of the Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland). When Grace had to do her quest in Dreamland, there was something eerie about the place, and as the story progressed you learnt more about the strange group of people that lived there.
This series is just getting better and better

The Change 3: Paris: A City of Fools by Guy Adams
Published by Solaris on 13th July 2017
102 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies


The 3rd in the series and we are whisked off to Paris. Loic is a homeless man living in the sewers. Since rescuing Adrian a young boy, he has someone else to look after and at times he fears the responsibility. There is a strong bond with everyone who lives in the sewer and they all watch out for each other. As well as trying to feed everyone living there, they also must protect themselves from the Impressionist, a very colourful liquid monster. It was not till Adrian was kidnapped do we find out more about these monsters. However, they were not the only weird creatures roaming around Paris, Loic also comes across an eccentric opera singer and her partner. The sadistic owner at the Grand Guignol had an audience to entertain and plenty of people wandering around to become unwilling victims. Written from Loic POV, you could sense his loneliness and despair with the world. Some of the scenes were darker than the first 2 books and I felt that with this book the style of writing change. Whilst there were quite a few minor characters, the author just glanced over them and whilst Loic story was interesting there was not the backstories that the other 2 books had.
Each story can be read as a standalone book. They are a quick read and with each book you will either have a favourite character or monster. Whilst reading these stories, I was amazed at the authors imagination. With a mixture between dystopian, horror, Sci-Fi and fantasy, these will please teenager and adults alike. There are a further 3 books in this series

Harlot by Tracie Podger

October 14, 2017 - 9:29 am No Comments

Harlot by Tracie Podger
Published 31st March 2017
286 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

After the death of her grandma, 14-year-old Charlotte was thrown into a world of depravity. For 4 years she was forced to have sex with her cousin’s friends and clients. Living in a dilapidated trailer, all she wanted to do was escape. But when she finds a client murdered, she knows that this is her chance to escape. Having no idea where she will end up, she packs her meagre items and runs. Picked up by Beau who seems to be her knight in shining armour, Charlotte is at her lowest, wet, cold and lost. When he drops her off in his home town, she finds help where she least expects it.
To be honest, when I started to read this book, I thought here we go it’s a damaged girl meet a damaged boy and have a relationship. I WAS WRONG. This story tackles difficult subjects human trafficking, drugs and abuse. Charlotte appears to be a strong character, used to fending for herself, however when she meets Rose, Kieran and Cecelia she shows her vulnerability. All she wants is to be cared for. With everything she has gone through you would expect her to be bitter and selfish, but she will fight for what she believes in and has a heart of gold to the people she cares for. Beau is tall dark and brooding. He came across of having everyone problems on his shoulder and he was the only one who could sort it out. As the story progresses, you find out why is like that and the reasons behind the job he does. Charlotte and Beau’s relationship is hard to explain, one moment they hate each other but then they act like bosom buddies. Some of the scenes are graphic and heart breaking, but they are necessary to the story. Each character has their own story to tell and as we learn more about them, they form a story that got me hooked from page 1. The author had a way of leading you down the wrong path and the people you think are good turn out to me some of the most despicable people you will meet. This is a standalone book so even like me, who had not read anything else by this author you will be able to enjoy the story. A story full of suspense