Posts Tagged ‘A Horror Anthology’

Sussex Horrors: Stories of Coastal Terror and other Seaside Haunts by Mark Cassell, Jonathan Broughton and Rayne Hall

March 26, 2018 - 1:46 pm 3 Comments

Sussex Horrors: Stories of Coastal Terror and other Seaside Haunts by Mark Cassell, Jonathan Broughton and Rayne Hall
Published by Herbs House on 26th January 2018
156 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

My turn on this blog tour

Three horror authors who live in the Sussex area, get together and publish 12 short stories. With various length and a different topics, each story is had its only scary interpretation of the coast
Some of my favourites were:
Seagulls by Rayne Hall. Living by the coasts, I am used to seagulls and I have a cheeky one who will sit watching us at my kitchen door. Knowing how dangerous they can be especially when they dive at you for your food, this story plays on your fears. It shows the evilness of the birds and I did have a snigger at the end as I could imagine some of my feathered friends doing this.
The Rebirth by Mark Cassell: A wooden egg and a nasty surprise. I like how throughout you are following Kelly as she tries to rescue one of her students. The descriptive style makes you feel as you are walking Kelly steps. Whilst this is not graphic is has that creepy feel to it and will make your imagination work overtime.
You have one message by Jonathan Broughton: With more of us reliant on technology and the majority having a smartphone attached to their hands. This story is like a peephole into the future. With not much explanation to what caused the phenomenon, this may put you off using too much tech.
That is just 3 stories that I liked but I the majority of them. Normal Considering the Weather reminded me of most summers up here where we can get an infestation of flies where even fly spray will not kill them. Furzby Holt has a population of very aged characters and Away in a Mangler had a different take on mass production for those little trinkets that you buy whilst on holiday.
This was a quick read and I finished it in one sitting. Only being familiar with one author it was great to find some other authors for me to follow. A good British horror read

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.

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 while she stays on one of the adult day care centers, 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