Becoming David by Phil Sloman

January 7, 2018 - 11:05 am No Comments

Becoming David by Phil Sloman
Published by Hersham Horror Books on 24th September 2016
86 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Richard a self-employed accountant, house-proud and someone you would take home to meet your mother, a man who if you met in a pub you would be happy to have a drink with him. But what if I told you he had unusual taste, a taste for meat that was not animal. Oh yes to get his favourite food, he had to kill, unsuspected men he picked up in bars. He had a great life, until he killed the wrong person and David made sure he knew it.
This is a fast paced read and before I knew I had finished it. Having only a few characters, helps you learn all about Richard. When David started to haunt Richard, you get to see Richard’s world fall apart. At the start David was more like Jiminy Cricket, Richard’s conscious but as the story progressed he became as dark as Richard. Although there were times that I suspected that Richard had a split personality and David was a figment of his imagination. Whilst this is a story of a cannibal serial killer, the author does not concentrate on the blood and gore which enables you to use your imagination. The cannibalism was discussed at meal times and I always had a smile on my face when I read how he prepared the food. Obtaining the meat was just how you would get meat from an animal. The planning of each killing was more important than the kill and you can understand how Richard had got away for it for so long. There are not many books that at the end of the story, you start to feel sorry for the killer, but this was one of them.
I have read this author work in a few anthologies and always love his ideas of a story. I am eagerly looking forward to more stories from him. If you like your horror psychological then pick up this book.

Cursed (Spun Fairytale series Book 1) by RL Weeks

January 7, 2018 - 9:28 am No Comments

Cursed (Spun Fairytale series Book 1) by RL Weeks
Published on 7th January 2018
504 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Seven objects crafted to hold the deadly sins. Cursed concentrates on two of these items, the amulet and the lollipop. As this story progresses you get to know how much damage the items can do to people’s lives. The fairytales covered are Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, and Snow White but as you read it other fairy tales characters appear.
The merging of the fairytales, made this an interested read. As 4 major fairy tales are covered in the story, there are quite a few characters. Most of these characters were out for personal gain and were not afraid to stab others in the back to get what they want. One was George, a character that you will love to hate. He would hurt anyone who got in his way and surprisingly he still managed to get people to help him with his task. One of my favourite characters was Finnr who sacrificed his own happiness to save others and I hope that he makes an appearance in future books.
As advertised this is a revamp of Haunting Fairytales, so if you have read this series you will find parts of the story familiar. However, the author has change some of the character’s names and added extra scenes. Whilst the prior series was suitable for teenagers, this new series is steered towards the 18+ market due to the added erotica. Whilst it was written in taste, I personally did not think it added anything to the story, but erotica fans will love it. The action in this book seems more intense than in the previous edition. If you like you fairy tales and love the merging of stories, then get this book. I am interested to see what revamp she has done with the rest of the stories and how the cursed items affect the land of Cantata

Calendark: The Infernal Almanac by David Shakes and Stephanie Ellis

December 31, 2017 - 2:30 pm No Comments

Calendark: The Infernal Almanac by David Shakes and Stephanie Ellis
Published by The Infernal Clock on 28th November 2017
214 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Having read last year’s anthology to do with time, this year’s book intrigued me as what could the authors do with the holidays we celebrate. Well I was surprised, whilst some were popular holidays, some of the stories were about holidays I had never heard off . With 16 stories each featuring a different holiday this book will take you through the year. Here is a pick of my favourite holidays.
Lord of Misrule by Christine Dalcher: We all have heard of Twelfth night the night of the 5th/6th January, but have you heard of the Twelfth Night supper. Professor Jeremy Stone had, and when an invitation arrived for him to join The Saturn Society a prestige group he didn’t know whether it was a prank or not. Through out this story there are hints to the things that Jeremy had done in his former life. He had an evil streak to him which he put down to as fun even though people got hurt. The build up to the supper kept you wondering what was going to happen.
Last Laugh by Marie McKay: April fools is always a day of laughter, but April takes it one step further. Bullied at school and always being laughed at, April had an unhealthy fixation with the sound of laughter. April was a strange girl, and the bullying didn’t help. When she bumped into the old crowd, I did wonder if it was planned or just by chance, but as the story continued you could imagine April’s mind ticking over and how to get revenge. Loved the strange weapon of choice and very apt to the story.
Revels with the Devil by Sal Page: This is one holiday I have not heard off. Held on the 30th April, Walpurgis Night is the night that witches gather on a hilltop to dance with the Devil. Toby, Sasha and Beth love to dress up and party, bored waiting for Halloween, Toby finds this apt holiday for them to party. What goes on that night effects them all. Whilst reading this story, you get to learn more about Walpurgis night. The way the author told this story you could sense the creepy atmosphere of the gathering. The escalation of violence as the party climaxed was graphic. A good story and an interesting holiday.
Neon Hearts by Chris Milam: Winter solstice or the shortest day of the year, the night when the Wild Hunt ride. The town of Lancaster get a visit from the hunt every year and on that night, they need to make a decision that affects everyone. The rules were simple: Pick a person who has done some type of bad deed, or screwed folks over or never contributed to the community. However, whilst reading this story, it is amazing how people can be so petty when it’s their choice. A good story that shows how humans can be a much of a monster as a demon coming to the town.
Before each story there is either a quote or an explanation of the holiday, which was an added touch and in some cases explained the holiday, if you had not heard of it. A good collection of stories that showcases new authors to me. The team has done time and holidays and I wonder where they will take this next year. Another good anthology which horror lovers will enjoy.

Dueling Kings (The Twelve Kingdoms Book 1) by Bree Pierce

December 28, 2017 - 12:45 am No Comments

Dueling Kings (The Twelve Kingdoms Book 1) by Bree Pierce
Published on 1st November 2016
154 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies
Have 12 kings ruling 12 kingdoms could get messy but the annual peace treaty held in Oselma helps keep things peaceful. However, when 2 kings see something that took their fancy. Neso knew that peace could soon end all due to a woman.
Anastacia was a woman of mystery, not many knew her secret. Living in Oselma, she was used to staying in the shadows. What drew the two kings to her was her unusual hair and eye colouring. As you get further into the book, you really get to know Anastacia, whilst she is caring and humble, she has a stubborn streak to her. When she went to Tyberia, she felt free for the first time in ages. The two kings were complete opposites, whilst King Dejen was loving and a great Ruler, King Carlos ruled his kingdom with a rod.
Each of the minor character’s stories were told in detail and one of my favourite characters was Theta, a maid at the castle. I loved her feistiness and could see that she was a true friend to Anastacia
As there are 12 kingdoms, the author took time in describing each one, and it was interesting to see how different each land was whether it was the inhabitants or the weather climate. Anastacia’s back story explaining her secret and the magical element added depth to the story. The pace picked up as more people found out her secret and you had a sense that something bad was going to happen. Whilst there is a touch of romance, this does not detract from the action. The tension builds in the second half of the book and you will want to carry on reading to find out what happens. A complete story so you do not have to worry about a cliff-hanger.
I am interested to see where the author will go with this series as I would like to learn more about the other kingdoms. A good start to this series

The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror by William Meikle

December 26, 2017 - 10:23 pm No Comments

The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror by William Meikle
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 9th December 2017
189 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

If you were asked living or dead, which authors you would pick to have at a dinner party, I can guarantee at least one of the great Victorian writers would be on your list. Masters of storytelling, their written stories are still read today.
An old Victorian manuscript is found in a derelict building. Penned by Arthur Conan Doyle, it captures 14 stories regaled to him, Henry James and Bram Stoker when other authors are invited to dine with them.
Before I review this book, there is a disclaimer, I have not read some of these author’s original works. However, after I read this book, I did google these authors to see what works they wrote.
So, with all these stories, there is a lot of choice and for this review I will write about my favourites.
The Immortal Memory: Leo Tolstoy: When Empress Yekaterina Alexeyevna requested a Scottish poet, who could narrate Burn’s in Russian, Captain Marsh knew he had his work cut out. The story is very descriptive of living in Russia, and how certain people suffered to survive. A tragic ending which has an impact on others.
To the Manor Born: Margaret Oliphant: Young Agnus Leckie, was the new maid at the Manor. Trading jobs, she soon gets introduced to the lady of the house. Throughout this story you can feel the love that the master had for his family. A harrowing ghost story that is beautifully written and with a poetic ending.
The Angry Ghost: Oscar Wilde: Tom had always been told by his Aunt Agatha that there were no such things as ghost. Aunt Agatha was a bitter woman who always thought she was right and reminded me of Oscar Wilde’s character Lady Bracknell in the Importance of Being Ernest. This was a comical read with a fitting ending.
The Curious Affair on the Embankment: Arthur Conan Doyle: Inspector Lestrade has been brought into a case of a missing lady. The only stipulation from the powers at be, is that he cannot involve Sherlock Holmes. Lestrade is drawn into the paranormal and must keep his cool when evil prevails. When I have read Sherlock Holmes stories, I have always felt that Lestrade was a bit of an idiot, so this was a refreshing change. Lestrade was very methodical as if he used Holmes powers of deduction. A paranormal mystery which will keep you gripped.
If you have read Songs of the Dreaming Gods, you will find 3 further stories of interest. The High Bungalow: Rudyard Kipling, In the House of the Dead: Bram Stoker and The Scrimshaw Set: Henry James. All three have elements of this book in them and I enjoyed the merging of the author’s work.
The introduction to each story gives it a personal touch and sets the scene for what’s to come. This is book showcases the author’s talents of writing in numerous styles. A great read that spirits you away to Victorian times.