Posts Tagged ‘Anthology’

Lost Highways: Dark Fictions from the Road

July 21, 2018 - 4:55 pm No Comments

Lost Highways: Dark Fictions from the Road
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 20th July 2018

Following on from Gutted, C.H.U.D. Lives and other anthologies from Crystal Lake comes Lost Highways. A bumper collection of 26 short stories with one thing in common the open road.
With so many stories I was spoilt for choice, but some of my favourites were:
Not From Detroit by Joe R Lansdale: An elderly couple are very much in love. This is a beautifully written story and so heart-warming. This story that love will conquer all even in the face of death.
Jim’s Meats by Kelli Owen: A couple are on a road trip and are running out of petrol, but pulling over at a petrol station, just made it dangerous. This story built the tension up to the final chase. This is a story I would love to be a full novel. Whilst a lot is unknown about the Jim’s meat and the residents of the town, your imagination can join the dots.
Your Pound of Flesh by Nick Kolakowski: Hitchhikers are a regular feature in road trip stories but this story had a twist when Jill Cafferty stopped to pick up a young girl in distress. This story takes you on the hunt for a serial killer. Incorporated in this story was the difficult topic of domestic violence which was handled with sensitivity. The author takes you on an emotional journey which near the end will have you picking up speed to find out what happens. The twist to the story was a surprise and the ending made the story whole.
Having read the majority of Crystal Lakes anthologies, I knew that I need to add to my collection when this was released. Whilst I recognised quite a few of the authors, there were still authors I had not read and I admire the dedication that the publisher puts into finding the various authors to keep anthology fresh. As usual the art work on the cover and in the book was exquisite. Each story was unique and with various length will keep you captivated throughout your read and possible you may not want to read this if you are planning your own road trip. Although it may be a good survival guide.

Varying Distances by Darren Speegle

March 6, 2018 - 10:08 pm No Comments

Varying Distances by Darren Speegle
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 9th February 2018
203 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

This anthology consists of 12 short stories, each story takes you someplace different. Exploring the mind, individuals psyche, the good and the bad in people.
I did have a couple of favourites stories. Death Paper Burn: Wanting to return home, Wayne persuades his boyfriend to purchase the house which was owned by a gang that caused death and destruction to his family. From the start you get to know what the gang did to Wayne’s family. The story gets darker when drugs are involved and an old school friend turns up at the house.
Twinkle, Twinkle, Amsterdam: Gary Karic is touring Europe, now in Amsterdam, he is taking in the sights. Whilst reading this story, I kept wondering whether he was trying to escape and as the story continues you get to find out what sort of life he had lead. Whilst reading this story, I did feel sorry for Gary and when he hooked with Klara, and with the drug uses, I felt that he had realised who he was.
A Puddle in the Wildnerness: Blaine and Casey are on a canoeing trip when they capsized, what follows is a dramatic event. The family that “rescue” them reminded me of the family from Texas Chainsaw Massacre or the Hills have Eyes. With both Blaine and Casey having different versions of the accident, you are left to decide which is the true version. This was one story I did re-read as I could not decide who told the true story.
Each story is a quick read and if you have read other work by this author you know what to expect. For me I enjoyed the darker stories and I hope to read more of his darker work .

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.

Imposter Syndrome edited by James Everington and Dan Howarth

December 12, 2017 - 11:26 pm No Comments

Imposter Syndrome edited by James Everington and Dan Howarth
Published by Dark Mind Press on 25th November 2017
182 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

What if you see some who looks like you? or you think you are living with the wrong family? These questions and more are answered by 10 authors in this anthology.
I Know What They Look Like by Gary McMahon: A taxi driver picks up a fare and gets more than he bargains for. A great opening to the book and really sets the scene. Strange things tend to happen at night, evil lurks in the shadows. Whilst reading this I was imagining it set as a black and white movie, and felt the apprehension when he picked up his fare and was completing his 1st task.
In the Marrow by Laura Mauro: Most little girls imaging they see faeries, and come up with ways to trap them. Hazel and Tara were no different. However, when Tara became ill, Hazel knew exactly how to cure her. As I was reading this story, I did wonder if Hazel was making the story up to cope with Tara’s illness. A beautifully written story.
Who is that on the Other Side of You by Timothy J Jarvis: Croker and Learmouth are on an expedition to Antarctica. Spitting imagine of each other except for a birthmark. The story of the expedition is writing in actual time, whilst their history was written in the format of a diary. This enabled the story to flow and helped describe the characters in detail. An intriguing story about adventure and betrayal.
What’s Yours is Mine by Holly Ice: After visiting her mom, Sophie finds out a secret that will affect her whole life. Whilst it was early on that Sophie found out her mom’s secret, the author writes it in a way that you think that due to her mom’s illness she is making it up. Throughout the story bits of Sophie’s past is revealed and slowly you realise just how big the secret was. The ending could have been a bit more graphic for me, but I enjoyed how this story was planned out
The Insider by Neil Williamson: A story based on the online world. Raymond is in Italy on business and a similar twitter account is causing him problems. This story explored how it is so easy to pretend to be someone else online. It shows how folk can hide behind a keyboard and post to get a rise from other users.
Other People’s Dreams by Stephen Bacon: Waking up after being involved in a bombing not knowing your past is scary enough, but add to that the graphic dreams, you can understand why he needs to see a doctor. Coming across a double gives him a new purpose in life. I really enjoyed this story, the graphic dreams, memory loss and the psychobabble. It had me wondering throughout what type of man the main character was, was he a murderer. The obsessive nature of the character once he found his double was scary. The author kept you guessing where the story was going.
Hold my Hand and I’ll Take You There by Ralph Robert Moore: This story follows Noah as a boy he battles a life-threatening illness, as a man he falls in love with Audrey, a woman who is suffering with mental health. This was one of the most moving stories that I have read. As a mom reading about young Noah’s suffering was heart-breaking, but the author gave me hope when Noah met Audrey. A twist had me stopping reading for a minute as I did not expect where the story was going. A great read.
The Wrong House by Tracy Fahey: Tom wakes up one morning and finds out that he is in the wrong house with the wrong family. Following Tom over a couple of days, the reason for his feeling is revealed. From the opening paragraph, you know something is wrong, but you do not know whether it is Tom or the house. Scenarios kept running through my mind as I was reading. The author has a way of telling a story that draws you in and makes you want to read more so you can find out what is happening. A heart-rending ending that explains the whole story.
Little Heart by Georgina Bruce: I have always wondered what goes through a child’s mind when their parent is a famous actor. The story explains detachment and how even as an adult it affected her. This story had a film noir feel to it and with scenes involving the film, added intrigue to it. A story that if you read it again, you will find something new.
Virtually Famous by Phil Sloman: From the start this story got me hooked. The opening line “He died a thousand times today and would die a thousand more”. Chet Tyler was fixated on his own game and whilst some gamers wanted to be him others wanted to kill him. The fascination Chet had with the game was unnatural. The author has the knack of making you unsure whether you are reading the gaming or Chet’s experience. The lines of fact and fiction is blurred. You know Chet had a substance abuse but was he imagining it. All this made me want to read more. A page turner with a great ending.
This anthology was a great read and a brilliant choice of authors.

New Release: The Aching Darkness

December 2, 2017 - 8:18 pm No Comments

The Aching Darkness:A Dark Fantasy Anthology by Parker Sinclair ~ Alexia Purdy ~ Jessica Ozment~ Robert Stock
Sensuality, Madness, Tortured Souls, & Dangerous Beings


These pages contain thrilling short stories for the dark fantasy lover. Fight grotesque, body and soul consuming creatures, hacking off their limbs with sharp pointy weapons, as Dark Angel, Ilese, defends humanity, in A Darker Fall. Find your true power as the head witch in your ancient coven, while hiding a terrible secret costing you everyone you love in White Matron. Mind meld with killer, lover, and immortal, Joe Smith, in Lord of Blood. Travel to Sin City for a Post-Apocalyptic Vampire of Vegas story stocked with vampires and zombies in Brevity.

Depravity, Lies, Blood, Sex, & Magic
Will Set Your Pulse Pounding
Your Spine Tingling & Your Mind Reeling

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