Posts Tagged ‘Crystal Lake Publishing’

Whispered Echoes by Paul F Olson

June 23, 2017 - 6:36 pm No Comments

Whispered Echoes by Paul F Olson

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 23rd June 2017

275 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Having only read Indie authors for just over a year I had not had the pleasure of reading any of the author’s work. However, when I was offered the chance to read a collection of his dark horror stories in one book and being a lover of short stories, how could I say no.

Before I even got to the stories I found the introduction by Paul F Olson fascinating, how he explained the history behind the creation of some of the stories and the lengths he had go to, to get these stories to the format we all know. It shows my age as I remember floppy discs.

For this review, I am going to pick a couple of my favourites, but with 11 short stories and a novella I was spoilt for a choice.

Homecoming:  Beckett was having a relaxing drink in a rundown bar, when he noticed a teenager having a drink, having a son the same age, he thought he may be in trouble. Having offered to take him home, he did not expect what he found. This story lulls you into a false sense of security however the further you read the creepier is gets. Whilst you know something is not right, you don’t expect the ending, then it hits you.

The More Things Change: Elvin lives in a town that nothing stays the same, it gets more surreal over time. The animals talk, the sky is green at the moment but can change every day structures change shape and texture and my favourite; bears riding Harleys, this is only a few things that are affecting this town and whilst at the start the residents find it quite fun, over time, the cracks start to appear and they are looking for someone to blame. Written from Elvin’s POV, this story is showing an apocalyptic at its funniest and whilst it is humorous, there was a serious side showing the mob culture, when they want changes.

Faith and Henry Gustafson:  Henry Gustafson gets a call in the dead of night about a murder at a disused summer camp, but when he gets there he is in for a surprise. This story reminded me a lot of those slasher movies set in the woods. This story was full of suspense and not knowing what to expect made it a really quick read.

Bloodybones: Amy loves life, an action junkie, who lives in a lighthouse. This story follows her on a regular journey home and the aftermath of that fatal Saturday afternoon. This story is intense from the start, starting with the race against the storm, you can feel Amy’s concerns and fears. The story then changes to her boyfriend’s POV we follow each step of his investigation. Reading from his POV makes the story more harrowing as you can feel his loss and when Amy’s sister comes to visit, you get the feeling that he thinks he is losing his mind. The more they investigate Amy, the more sinister the story gets, as they come across a creature called Bloodybones, who reminds me of Slenderman, created by adults to scare their children. A great story with a dramatic ending

This a great selection of short stories that will have looking over your shoulder whilst you read it. Now I have read Paul F Olson’s work I will look out for more

Twice upon an Apocalypse: Lovecraftian Fairy Tales

May 30, 2017 - 5:24 pm No Comments

Twice upon an Apocalypse: Lovecraftian Fairy Tales edited by Rachel Kenley and Scott T Goudsward: Authors: Armand Rosamilia, William Meikle, Bracken MacLeodPeter N. DudarMorgan SylviaDon D’AmmassaMichael KampWinifred BurnistonZach ShephardGary A. Braunbeck (Introduction)

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 30th May 2017

284 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Like most people I grew up with fairy tales, and have always loved it when authors put their own twist to them. Each story is a different tale but have one thing in common, they all had a Lovecraftian theme.

With 21 stories to capture your imagination, you be hard pressed to find a story that you don’t like. For this review, I am going to pick my favourites.

Little Maiden of the Sea by David Bernard: Using the story of The Little Mermaid, the author tells the story of a female Deep one, who wants to live with humans. Reading this story, I had the feeling that both main characters used each other to get what they wanted in life. The added twist at the end left me wondering if the plan worked.

The Horror of Hatchet Point by Zach Shephard: Based on Rumpelstiltskin and sticking very close to the original this story tells how Rumpelstiltskin uses the Queen to enable him to call forth Father Dagon. Whilst the character of Rumpelstiltskin is a hated child abductor, the author puts a spin on this character and explains the reasons behind his plan.

Let Me Come In by Simon Yee: If you have read The Three Little Pigs, the wolf is the bad guy, however in this story, the wolf has just survived The Great War against the humans and is looking for food. His meeting with the three little pigs and a mysterious white symbol tells the story in a whole new light. It was different to read it from the point of view of the wolf and I did find it funny to hear the pigs swearing, as I am used to the original fairy tale. I liked how the wolf did not use his breath to destroy the houses.

The Little Match Mi-Go by Michael Kamp: After the Old ones were released and destroyed the earth, it was left to the smallest of the Mi-Go to save the earth. This story follows this creature whilst it tries and find Ghatanothoa. Throughout this story I felt sorry for the little Mi-Go as I sensed the quest was hopeless, and I was willing it to survive.

Writing this review, I found it hard to pick my favourites as every story was good. Not having read any of these authors previous works, I did not know what to expect but I have now added more authors to my list to read. I have not read any of HP Lovecraft, but this did not stop me enjoying this book. Lovecraft’s characters suited these fairy tales and returned them to the dark tales before Disney got hold of them. If you like your fairy tales dark or just a fan of Lovecraft then this is a great book to buy.

Where the Dead Go to Die by Aaron Dries and Mark Allan Gunnells

December 3, 2016 - 12:19 am No Comments

Where the Dead Go to Die by Aaron Dries and Mark Allan Gunnells

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 28th November 2016

197 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

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A government run hospice for zombies, where the undead go to live out their remaining days.  Emily is an agency nurse who has a past, having to provide for her daughter leads her to getting a job in one of the hospices. It’s a job that no-ones wants, caring for the undead whilst running the gauntlet with the anti-hospice supporters.

The hospice setting gave a human element to the zombies and it was a pleasant change to have the zombies having conversations and being treated with compassion. The horror element to this book builds up slowly lulling you into a false sense of security and when it started I must admit I let out a shocked cry. Throughout the story, Emily’s past is revealed and you understand why she is so protective over her daughter and why she has such a caring nature for the patients.

When I finished this book my emotions were in tatters, as a mom there were parts of this story that I could not imaging me doing and my heart went out to Robby who was in the hospice. My favourite character was Mama Metcalf a lonely elderly lady who had a heart of gold. Some of her one liners broke up the tension in the book.  A nice touch was the instruction on how to make an origami crane which were at the beginning of some of the chapters.

The story flowed smoothly and with the added suspense made it a quick read. the twist at the end was unexpected. Another great publication by Crystal Lake and a well written book by Aaron Dries and Mark Allan Gunnells

Tales from the Lake Volume 3 edited by Monique Snyman

August 26, 2016 - 9:58 am No Comments

Tales from the Lake Volume 3: Edited by Monique Snyman

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 26th August 2016

244 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Tales from The Lake Vol.3

I am going to start off with a confession, I have not read any of the other Tales from the Lake. So what is this book about. It’s a book that holds 19 of the most weird and amazing stories that you will ever read. It caters for all types, ranging from ancient monsters, ghost and even stories that have a sci-fi element. After reading this book you will definitely find a story or stories that you loved. Each story had its own individuality and I loved them all.

So not to spoil your enjoyment of the book, I am just going to write a one-line sentence on each story:

The Owl Builder by D Morgan Ballmer: What a twist at the end

Tragedy Park by Chris Pearce: That is one water park that I would not want to go to, creepy does not give this story credit

Enclosures by Sumiko Saulson: Reginald Henry Moore III a very conscientious body squatter

Woe, Violent and Water by Lily Childs: A short story that ranged from ancient to modern times, Enid was one evil woman.

The Cruel by Harper Hall by Harper Hall: This story gave me goose bumps; I could just imagine being in the school with that noise.

Red Scream with Little Smile by Paul Edmonds: When you start this story it seems pretty normal then the author hits you, is it a happy town at the end.

Maybelle by Mere Joyce: Ancient portals and an origami bird, a great short story that had so much contents.

Rodent in the Red Room by Matt Hayward: This story about an ancient monster, this story wants me to read more about Ben and would love a series.

The Deeper I Go the Deeper I Fear Natalie Carrol: A story about a brave boy and a Kelpie, put you off swimming in the lake.

The Pigmallion Pig: by Mark Allan Gunnells:  Joe is fixated on a children’s book but does not expect what where his fixation takes him.

Chemical Oasis by Tommy B Smith: An intense story about a highly addictive drug and the team sent to bring it down

Hush by Sergio Pereira:  Set in the surroundings of a derelict hospital, this story is not what you expect, and your introduction to the Dutch witches.

The Reaper’s Fire by Kenneth W Cain: This author draws you in to feeling sorry for Dana, but humans can be monsters or is she a very naïve girl

Effigy by Kate Jonez: Not what I expected from a job offer, don’t accept packages from strangers.

Scents of Fear by Steve Jenner: Kept me on the edge of my seat turning the pages quicker and quicker to find out if he got his target.

A Hand from the Depths by Dave De Burgh: Manolo gets abducted, but what was the reason for the abduction.

The Bet by Amy Grech: When a hazing goes wrong, great story.

The Monster of Biscayne Bay by Roxanne Dent: An ancient Indian monster Ishtikini, Lilly and what happened in 1955.

The Song at the Edge of the Unfinished Road by Jack Bates: As you read this story you presume this is about 2 senile men, but the further you get into it, you know something is not right.

I had not read any other stories written by these authors but the way they all wrote, has left me want to read more from each of them.  As these are all short stories, you have the choice either to read the book cover to cover or if you have a spare 10 minutes then pick up this book and read a story. Another great publication from Crystal Lake.      

Gutted

August 20, 2016 - 1:30 pm No Comments

Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 24th June 2016

380 Pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories by [Barker, Clive, Gaiman, Neil, Campbell, Ramsey, Lucia, Kevin, M. Yardley, Mercedes, Tremblay, Paul, Angelica Walters, Damien, Thomas, Richard]

What can I say about this book, 15 short stories and a poem makes this book a great read.

Every story was different but what each one had in common was the way they were all beautifully written, the words just flowed to make such great stories. Like everyone who reads a collection of short stories I did have my favourites but I enjoyed reading every one of them and there was not a single one that I did not enjoy.

I will just mention the ones I enjoyed the most.

Arbeit Macht Frei by Lisa Mannetti. Eligia is remembering her time in a Nazi run concentration camp. This story shows that not all horror stories involve paranormal monsters, but human beings are as evil. Reading this gave me the shivers, we have all heard what happened to people in these camps, but the way it was written from a child’s POV made this more real.

Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave by Brian Kirk. Most of us have heard on the news of young girls that have been found after being abducted years before, but we never hear about the recovery period. This story is about the after effects of Meagan’s abduction and what lengths her dad has to go through to help her recovery. This would be any parent’s nightmare and as a mom of a daughter I don’t know if I could do what her dad did.

Water Thy Bones by Mercedes M Yardley. This story easily explains that beauty is not skin deep. Two troubled people meet up, Michael with a fascination of bones and Nikilie who wants someone to love her not just for her beauty on the outside. This story was so tastefully written, that I had tears in my eyes at the end of the story and even though you did not expect it, it was a beautiful ending.

On the other side of the door, everything changes by Damien Angelica Walters. A very topical story thanks to the popularity of social media. I have been lucky that I have never had to have a conversation with my teenagers on the other side of the door, but my heart went out to the mom wanting to know what is wrong and trying to find the right words. Both my teenagers understand Cyber bullying and the consequences but this story really explained it in such a dramatic way. I would get every child who delves in to social media to read this story as I think that it would stop a lot of them making the mistake of posting pictures.

When we all meet at the Ofrenda by Kevin Lucia. Day of the dead is a special holiday to celebrate the lives of your deceased loved ones, but for Whitey, this one was the first one he celebrated without his wife. This story was heart breaking and you could sense Whitey’s loses. What you don’t expect is the involvement of his sons. That is all I am saying

What has not been mentioned is the beautiful artwork from the cover to the pictures that accompanies each story. A great book and although I have read a couple of the author’s other books there are now more authors for me to look out for