Posts Tagged ‘A Horror Anthology’

Maximus Shock: Collected Tales of Madness and Terror

December 2, 2017 - 1:17 pm No Comments

Maximus Shock: Collected Tales of Madness and Terror
Published by Optimus Maximus Publishing on 10th February 2017
342 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Having read quite a few books published by Optimus Maximus Publishing, I knew what to expect from some of the authors. However, this anthology gave me the chance to read stories from some of their other authors. Having 16 short stories, with various degrees of horror, helped me spend a pleasant couple of hours reading. Here are a few to entice you.
Starting off this review is Monkeys in the Palace by Chris Garson: Having enjoyed his novel Perk Noir, I was looking forward to reading this short story. The main protagonist narrates his story whilst a prison riot is occurring. The bloodshed and graphic death scenes are constant throughout and the narrator reminds me of Hannibal. A big shock is the reveal of the narrator.
After School Special by Maura Atkinson Butler: Sunshine or Sunny to her peers, was your typical high school student. Her daily mission was to avoid the “Stepford Girls” and their cronies. An easy target for their bullying, her sadistic imagination got her through the day. However, when she was drawn into a plan of revenge, it all goes terrible wrong. The author’s storytelling had me feeling sorry for Sunny, and I did will her to stop the bullying anyway she could. Although the ending was a surprise.
Bites by Leon Brown: Set after the zombie apocalypse, this is the story about a small community and their encounter with the zombies. The story revolves around Sam and how he played his part. I enjoyed that this story told it how the zombie apocalypse would probably be like, a lot of sitting around. Sam as a character was genuine and like most young men had the eye for the pretty ladies. When the zombies attacked it was quick and this story just shows you to be careful who you trust.
In Death the Spirit Calls by Emir Skalonja: Set in World War II Russia, the German and Russians are battling in the trenches, but they are not alone. This story is well descriptive of the evils of war whether it be demon or human intervention.
Mannequin by Matt Hay: Christmas Eve and Brian is cashing up at MacDougall’s Department Store. As shop manager is was under a lot of pressure with his home and work life. What happens this fatal night would change his life for ever. The story had was filled with suspense and blend the horror with an everyday item gave this a creepy feel. This has given me a taste for Matt’s up and coming novel.
Scouts Honour by Ricky Fleet: A scout camp is not a camp with the scary campfire story and this camp was no different. Toby a scout leader tells his troop the story about Lavina and her terror over Helston. Reading this story, you could imagine sitting there being creeped out. Knowing this author from his Zombie Series Hellspawn, I know that he can tell a story. However, this story was so different to his usual work, it had a chilling feel to it from the start, with a mixture of the scouts’ reaction and the story itself, the author leads you to a shocking ending.
I could write about every story in this anthology as I loved each and everyone, but my review would go onto well over 1000 words. If you are looking for your next horror anthology, then look no further.

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.

The Anatomy of Monsters: VOL 1 by Lisa Vasquez, Ramsey Campbell, Gary McMahon, Nicholas Vince, Brian Hodge, Carl Jennings, Donelle Pardee Whiting, Josh Malerman, Steven Chapman, Greg Chapman, Robert Teun

July 25, 2017 - 10:35 pm No Comments

The Anatomy of Monsters: VOL 1 by Lisa Vasquez, Ramsey Campbell, Gary McMahon, Nicholas Vince, Brian Hodge, Carl Jennings, Donelle Pardee Whiting, Josh Malerman, Steven Chapman, Greg Chapman, Robert Teun

Published by Stitched Smile Publications on 7th July 2017

334 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Monsters have always played a big role in storytelling. This anthology has 19 stories some monsters you will recognise straight away. Every story is different and for this review I am going to list my favourites.

I Know I Promised You a Story by Gary McMahon: When an editor receives a biographical story from an author, he learns more about the author than he wants to. At the start of the story you can imagine the editor just sitting thinking he is reading a work of fiction involving the imagination of a young boy, but as the story progress you realise that this is more serious and that lives could be in danger.

Family Tree by Nicholas Vince: When Bryan receives an email from his twin brother Adrian, who he had not seen for over 20 years, what starts out as a family union soon results in a secret that will affect him and his family. Whilst I had an idea what the secret was I could not imagine how Bryan felt when Adrian asked for the favour and the twist at the end with the locket.

Whitechapel by Alisha Jordan: Whilst an old lady is dying she reminisces about her past. We all know what happen in Whitechapel but with a feminine twist and the reasons behind the murders makes this more believable than all the speculation at the time.

Le Mort Vivant by Steven Chapman: A story about a young boy, who believed he was a monster due to his mother. Whilst reading this story I was actually thinking of another monster and it was not till the end that I realised who this story was about. The story was more heart breaking and it shows that monsters are usually created by the intervention of others. As a mom, I could not think of doing this my children and putting them through this trauma.

Nightswimming by Laura Mauro: When a survivor of Katrina, is a victim of domestic violence, she gets her revenge in a unique way. Thanks to Disney this creature has been tamed but this author takes it back to its true form, a scary eerie creature.

To Walk in Midnight’s Realm by Simon Bestwick: Written as a letter, this story explains what happened to John leading up to his death and the task he wants Matt to do. Reading this story, it feels like you are with John on his journey, when he meets the creatures the graphic way his friends died added intensity to the story as you could sense what danger John was in. However, this story was more than a horror story this was a story about love and regret.

With each story, I was trying to guess who the monster was and whilst some are identifiable a lot came from the authors imagination. Set over different time frames, each story took you are a different journey. Whatever type of monster you like I am sure that you will find a story or 2 to enjoy. With some great authors, this book is a must read for horror lovers and whilst I don’t judge a book by its cover, the art work by Greg Chapman is gorgeous

The Infernal clock curated by David Shakes and Stephanie Ellis

April 15, 2017 - 2:16 pm No Comments

The Infernal clock curated by David Shakes and Stephanie Ellis

Published on 31st March 2017

306 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

I borrowed this book on Kindle Unlimited, as the blurb got my interest. 24 stories each a different hour, counting down time till the clock strikes no more.  Not having prior knowledge of any of the participating authors, I did not know what to expect, but as a lover of horror and from page one I knew I had made a good choice. There were so many stories I enjoyed some just for the true horror whilst others made you think on the situation of the story. Here are a few of my favourites:

Highland Game by Karen Gray: Set in the Scottish Highland a visitor to a scout camp tells the story of a Kelpie an old folklore creature, around the camp fire, but by midnight it all end in tragedy for one scout leader.  If you know old folklore you know that Kelpies are Scottish creature living in lochs and as this story was based on the original beliefs. A well-paced quick read.

The Graveyard Shift by Stephanie Ellis: Set in a sleep clinic, we follow Joseph the night security guard on his final hour of his shift between 3am-4am. It was a pleasant change to read a story not sent in a mental asylum, and whilst there were patients there that would be a home in one, this was centred around the guard and not what crimes they did. With the help of a Danish Nurse, Joseph was made to confront what he had done to previous patients. Yet another story using folklore, although I had not heard of this one. I enjoyed reading about this creature and how the author tied it together with night terrors and missing people made it a good read.

Tartarus by Tim Kimber: At 5am Jaclyn and Oscar were leaving a rave, high on drugs they decide to go to an after rave party. With the grief of their brother still raw, they use this time to get closer together, but when the guests at the party are not what they seem, Jaclyn knows that she has to be the big sister and save Oscar.  From the moment, they walked into the party, you have the sense that something was going to happen. For a short story this book is full if suspense and one story that you do not want to put down. Although this a horror story this a story about grief and 2 siblings coming to terms with their brother’s death.

Always Protect the Ones you love: Bart Van Goetham: It’s 7pm and Belinda is home from work and listening to the news. With terrorism, serial killers, Belinda worries for her new daughter, but the length that’s she goes to, to protect her is extreme.  As a parent, you do worry about world the that your children are going up in, but I couldn’t believe what Belinda did to her family. A chilling story about a mother’s love.

Whispers by Stephanie Ellis: A family living in a house with a gruesome reputation. That little voice you hear telling you to do things. The family that live in the house have a lot of secrets, and the malignant spirit knows, a few quiet words whispered in their ears and he gets what he wants. This story was about human nature, the spirit knew exactly how to play people. The spirit came out to play at 8pm.

Watershed by Stella Turner: Harriet was a collector. Like her mom before her, but unlike most people who collected the likes of dolls, teddy bears, thimbles etc. Harriet had quite a macabre taste. At 9pm the watershed, when British TV can show scenes not for children’s eyes, Harriet decided to share her collection with her boyfriend Leon. This story builds up to 9pm and you can feel the apprehension in Harriot why she is waiting to share her collection, and whilst you are wandering what Leon’s reaction will be the author adds a twist that you never seen coming and the graphic ending puts Harriot’s collection to a whole new level.

Although the stories count down from Midnight you can read them in any order. This book had a good collection of stories that kept me entertained. What showcased the authors talents was that they only had an hour for the timeline of their story, and with some I could not get over how much action, suspense and horror they managed to fit in. A good anthology

Things only the darkness Knows: A Horror Anthology

February 5, 2017 - 8:23 pm No Comments

Things only the darkness Knows: A Horror Anthology: by R. l. WeeksKayla Krantz, J. L. Clayton, Theresa Jacobs, Skylar Mckinzie, Michal Elaine JohnstonAmanda Leigh, Carissa LynchFrank Zubek Donnell Hicks and Linsey Matthews

Published 5th February 2017

230 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

30 short stories and poems bought to us by eleven authors, if you have a spare 10 minutes or like me read the whole book from start to finish you will sure to find at least one story your love. Serial Killers, Demonic children, Vampires to name a few, each story has its own horrors,

If I reviewed every story in this anthology, then we would be here all day. So, for this review, here are my favourites.

Eyes of Evil by JL Clayton…Lisa and Erick have wanted a baby but after being told that she will never able to have children, they decide to adopt. On their first visit to meet the children, they come across a young boy called Kai. He was abused by his satanic parents and was put up for adoption, but is he the child of their dreams. From the moment, you start this story, you know that someone or something is evil, Throughout, this story the author makes you doubt your thoughts and ideas, is Kai evil or not. With the suspense building right to the very end, you eventually find out who Kai is.

Caller No 9 by Carissa Lynch… Ariel was involved in a nasty accident and although she is fully recovered she feels that something is missing, so when there is a competition for an all expenses holiday in the rain forest, she just had to be caller no 9, but was it too good to be true. This story is nothing how I imagined it would finish, I was imaging all types of horrors raining down on the rain forest, but I forgot one thing, this is a story by Carissa, the way she finds the darkest horrors in human nature and puts them in a story is brilliant. A story that will keep you guessing to the end.

Christmas Nightmare Inn by Skyler McKinzie…Paige and her friend had booked a holiday to Maple Leaf Inn. A typical inn filled with young people all wanting to spend the Christmas vacation together. Around a log fire the group was told about the supposed haunting of a young girl who died right there at the lodge. From the start, I thought it was going to be a typical ghost story, but with the added twist made it a lot darker. The author had a good way of blending the history of the dead girl with Paige’s trip, a good read.

Darkness by Theresa Jacobs… Farrell had stayed at the pub till closing time. He has to walk 5 miles home in the bitter cold and the dark. This was quite a short story but the author told the story well. With each step Farrell took you could really feel his fear. Although the ending was to be expected, I was still surprised by the response of the others. Could this be an urban legend?

Bloodlust by Amanda Leigh… A story of a vampire and his thirst for blood. It was a refreshing change to read a story about a vampire doing what vampires do, kill people for their blood, add a witch and you get a great battle. Not a sparkle in sight.

There is a good collection of authors in this is book and there were quite a few authors, I had not read before. There was a good balance of length of stories which does mean you can fit them in round life. My only complaint is that some stories left me wanting more, although this is not a bad thing. Another good anthology.