Posts Tagged ‘Mark Allan Gunnells’

Book Haven: And Other Curiosities by Mark Allan Gunnells

April 27, 2019 - 8:58 am No Comments

Book Haven: And Other Curiosities by Mark Allan Gunnells

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 26th April 2019

219 pages

This is one of my one-click authors and published by Crystal Lake publishing is a win-win. A collection of a novella and 20 short stories of various lengths had me reading this over a day.

With so many choices, I have found it difficult to only highlight a few for this review, so I am not, but will write about them all, even if it is only a few lines.

Starting off with Book Haven, the novella of the book. Set in a dystopian world where all the digital copies of books were wiped from a server, the Government were responsible for acquiring all real books and uploading for people to read or if they had not got the book rewriting from memory. This is what disturbed me, I use my Kindle every day, I can’t read real books. What would I do if I could not read? As you read this story, you follow Paul Nelson as he is on the hunt for his missing friend. This had a thriller feel to it, as you follow the clues. Paul Nelson was a stuffy character at the start, a bit of a jobsworth but he had a love of books. However, as he escaped the confines of the office, I soon realised that he had a rebellious streak and this adventure brought out his passion. Like all thrillers, there are always ones to stop him and this story was no different. With only a handful characters, it is clear who he is up against but there were a few surprises in the story and a few characters will surprise you. I would love this story to continue into a mini-series, although I am still thinking about if I lost all my books on my kindle.

Human Bones in a China Cabinet: Most folk collect, whether it is stamps, books or like Jesse, something a bit more macabre. As a collector of human bones, Jesse liked to brag and put them on display. But what if there were even stranger collections out there.

Welcome Home: Steve and Evan are a regular couple, going about the daily routine. However, a knock on the door changes their lives. This is a story about love and sacrifice.    

C U Soon: Philip was grieving after Monica his girlfriend lost her life whilst texting and driving. With the grief is guilt and Philip is finding it difficult to cope. I loved the twist at the end and shows the length that revenge can take.

End-Of-The-World Benediction: With the way Earth is going, this is a poem, that will get you thinking.

Going to See a Man about a Dog: At 4 Ethan has a sad life. As a mom, I felt sorry for Ethan and even though I knew what was about to happen, I was still shocked.

The Sandbox: Timothy Ellis was a lonely child, an easy target for bullies. What happens next. I am not going to say as it will give the story away but I really enjoyed this story.

Wrong: Whilst at work Janet is listening to Carol talk about her son. As a mom of two, I have had the temper tantrums although not as bad as Carol’s son. An extreme way of coping with it.

Evolution: Set in a dystopian world where only the strong survive. Following Lowell as he is recovering over his loss of Rick his boyfriend. A surprising story of revenge.

The Bracelet: Bryant and Lyle are very much in love. The story of the lengths people will take when a terminal illness is destroying their lives. A mixture of hope and despair and a very moving story.

Click Bait: A very short story and a warning message about accepting unknown friend requests.

A Day Like Every Other Day: A groundhog story with a glimmer of hope.

The Man Who Watched the Ocean or Twelve Steps Down into the Sea: A story about unrequited love and the lengths one man will take to find the love of his dreams.

The Desk: Tells the story of Nick Henson and the pressure he is under to write another best seller. After moving home, he comes across a desk, that holds so many treasures. This was one of my favourites and you can feel the pressure Nick was under whilst he tries and writes. I was expecting the story to go down a completely different route so the ending was a surprise.

When Gas was 52 cents per Gallon: Brandon and Joe breakdown on a deserted road. Brandon has always fancied Joe but doesn’t know how Joe feels. This was a graphic read, that some readers may find hard to read.

The Little Boy Who Lived in the Library: Paul uses the library and books as an escape from his home life.

Waiting for the Fall: A heart-breaking story of an elderly gentleman waiting for his time to come.

Tanner: One thing I have never understood is people boxing themselves into a device that browns their skin. This is a story about Matthew who purchases a second-hand tanning machine, which may have had a chequered past. An erotic read with an unexpected/expected twist you decide.

Go to Sleep Little Baby: Hard to say much without giving too much away, But this a story about motherhood.

The Farm: Have you ever visited a location that was seen in a film. In this story, the resident of the home that was the main setting for The Farm an 80s slasher movie had a very good reason why he did not like fans coming to his door.

The Hidden Cemetery: When a trip to a cemetery for a bit of fun goes an unexpected way.

As I have said I will always one click this author and yet again I have not been disappointed. I love reading his short stories and he has a way of making ordinary scenes into the extraordinary. I cannot wait to see what comes next.  

Deviations from the Norm by Mark Allan Gunnells

January 28, 2019 - 8:56 pm No Comments

Early last week as part of LGBTQ+ month Ginger Nuts of Horror posted an interview with Mark Allan Gunnells. If you want to read more of the interview here it is http://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/lgbtq-focus-five-minutes-with-author-mark-allan-gunnells

 

I was introduced to this author’s work when I read Where the Dead Go to Die in collaboration with Aaron Dries. Mark Allan Gunnells is one author that when a new book is released, I one-click straight away. Deviations from the Norm is the latest release

Deviations from the Norm by Mark Allan Gunnells

Published 22nd September 2018

302 pages

This book consists of three novellas of variant lengths, each one with a different theme and all three will draw you in.

The Unholy Eucharist is the longest of the novellas. When Peter, a stranger to Father Ryan wants to tell him his story, he didn’t believe what he was hearing.  Spanning over centuries this story tells the tale of the events leading up the 1st vampire and how he learnt to survive. With a well-known religious story as the backstory, I really enjoyed this novella. As the story progresses, you follow Peter on a journey that has its ups and downs, going from someone who everyone loved to a loathed creature. As I was reading this story I really felt for Peter as all he wanted to do was save a life. As it covers a long period of time, you appreciate how Peter had to adapt to the society he was living in, to protect his secret and others that he came into contact with. Having to learn to make his own decision from all the information and dramatic life-changing events thrown at him. The ending to this story was ingenious and has you wondering what would happen next.

Kronoz: Martin Garland had not had a good childhood, living with an alcoholic mom, he never knew who his father was and was too scared to ask. However, after one drinking session, his mom revealed a secret that would have an everlasting memory. Whilst his childhood wasn’t perfect, his adult life was a success. Throughout all his success, he had a burning desire to help his mom and Kronoz was invented. Martin was one of those characters that I took an instant like to, whilst he had a difficult upbringing, he never made excuses and always tried to be the best. The older he got, he always kept that ethos with whatever he was doing. The invention of time travel have you wondering what would you do in that situation and I could understand why it was done.     

The Price of Success is a story of two university friends who both studying English. Throughout their education, there was talk of a book collaboration and whilst they both dream of success as authors, only one gets what they think they want. Mat and Brad were complete opposites and as you read this story,  you realise how much their personality changes with the success that is given. When the deal is made with Mr Pyre, the twists that follow have you guessing where the story was taking you. The story reached a perfect ending, which I was pleased to read.

This is a good read for any horror or fantasy reader. The stories are short enough for you to read in one sitting as once you start one, you will not want to put it down. I am looking forward to what this author is going to bring out in 2019     

Fort by Mark Allan Gunnells

December 3, 2018 - 10:26 pm No Comments

Fort by Mark Allan Gunnells
Published by Sinister Grin Press on 19th November 2018
164 pages

As my daughter is at university and whilst I know her campus is safe, reading Fort made me wonder how safe will she be if there was a zombie breakout. With lots of people either living on campus or using the facilities, could she survive?
From the moment you start reading you are taken on a journey of survival. With students trapped all over campus, the story follows them from the start of the outbreak. Within the group, the author concentrated on a handful of characters, this enabled you to really get to know them and when a mix-match group get together, there will be some that you like instantly, whilst others you wish the zombies would eat quickly. With the help of the pre-zombie backstories, you get to find out how much the characters had changed.
This story does not romanticize a zombie outbreak, there are some emotionally charged scenes and your heart goes out to the ones they lost. There is one scene that I never saw coming and whilst I will not give it away, it was one of my favourite scenes of the story. This story was a quick read as there was always something going on whether they were planning their next forage for food or running from zombies. This story has it all love, action, tears and tantrums and a good read for zombie and horror lovers.

Companions in Ruin by Mark Allan Gunnells

May 18, 2018 - 8:41 pm No Comments

Companions in Ruin by Mark Allan Gunnells
Published by Sinister Grin Press on 10th February 2016
215 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Having read some other works from this author, one thing I like is his short stories. So when I picked up this book I knew that I would have a good read. With 25 short stories of various lengths. You will find plenty of stories to love.
For this review I am going to mention my favourites, I found this quite difficult as whilst writing this review I kept changing my mind as they were all good. So here is my choice at this present time.
By the Light of Dawn: A psychic is a person who claims to use extrasensory perception (ESP) to identify information hidden from the normal senses, but what if they make a mistake. This happened to Dawn and trying to make amends she offers to help a couple who’s daughter had gone missing, for a small fee.
The End of Her Rope: A mother is finding it hard to cope after giving birth.
Anniversary: Randall is celebrating his anniversary with a special girl.
Pick Your Path: When I was a young girl, I loved reading books that you had a role in deciding the fate of the characters. Mattie was a bookworm and when she came across a book called Wish Fulfillment she had some decisions to make.
Rebecca Weston Speaks the Truth: A regular afternoon changed Rebecca’s life. As she spoke more of the truth was revealed.
Homebody: A moving story about Brian and his wife.
Before and Aftermath: A heartbreaking story about Ned Terp and his time at school.
Work in Progress: There is a saying that there is a book in every one, and whilst that is the case is does not prove they are a writer. This is a story about the lengths that Jeremy goes to keep his work in progress a secret.
Depravation: If like me you have teenagers you know what a big part technology plays in their lives. This story shows just what happens when a mom bans her daughter from technology.
Whilst reading this book, it will bring out many emotions, whether you are laughing at some of the antics or one liners, or reading with tears in your eyes. Whilst this is horror, there are no evil slobbering monsters out for revenge. Some of these stories show the horror inflicted by humans or of everyday items and if like me you dislike Elf on a Shelf than there is a story to prove your point. These are one of the best short stories collection that I have read.

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