Posts Tagged ‘Short Stories’

A Deadly World: Vampires in Paris: A nine author anthology

December 2, 2017 - 3:55 pm No Comments

A Deadly World: Vampires in Paris by Alana Greig, Erin Lee, LJC Flynn, A Masio, Alice La Roux, KL Roth, Chelsi Davis, AJ Renee, Anke Van Zweel and Rita Delude.
Published by Enchanted Anthologies on 30th November 2017
251 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Many anthologies have a general theme and each story is completely different. This anthology is set in Paris after the vampires went to war. Paige, Maddox and Boswell were vampire royalty and humans had to fight to stay alive. Told by 9 authors, this anthology tells the stories of the vigilantes, the human slaves and the vampires that had suffered in the war.
The prologue sets this book up nicely, you know who the main characters are and the history they have with Paris. Whilst each story was well written and told a great story, I am going to review a couple of my favourites.
Teeka by LJC Flynn: Teeka was one of the strongest, fastest vampire killers. Every night she would do the same thing, wake up, unclamp her legs and take a couple of pills. Going out on her latest mission, she soon learns the truth about herself and who she can trust. In this story you get a proper introduction to Raul, a badass vampire, who is tattooed with silver ink. Teeka was a strong female character. She was self-confident, but did come over a bit cocky. However, when she learnt the truth, she lost all cockiness and her real self was shown. This story was action packed and was a page turner.
Surviving Paris by AJ Renee: The story about Sage and how she infiltrated the resistance and helped them become stronger. Sage loved being under estimated, small in structure, she knew how to fight. Her role in life was to train small groups of fighters to defeat the vampires. Scattered through the story is the attraction Sage has for Jean. This story builds up to the fight scenes with the vampires and I enjoyed all the training they had to do.
Whilst reading this anthology, you forget that each story is written by different authors. With common characters throughout, it helped merge the stories into one good read. I had favourite characters on both sides. This anthology was full of action and adventure. For lovers of vampires and paranormal

Tales of New Mexico by Joseph D’Lacey and Unquiet Waters by Thana Niveau

November 30, 2017 - 8:35 pm No Comments

Tales of New Mexico (Black Shuck Shadows Book 2) by Joseph D’Lacey
Published 10th September 2017
63 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies


Two short stories, completely different but one thing in common, the backdrop of the desert of New Mexico.
The Gathering of the Sheaves. Nicholson is on a quest, he has heard of a cactus that holds unusual properties and he wants to get his hands on it. As a Victorian Englishman in the wilds of the New Mexico desert, he was not prepared for the basic living conditions and the danger of his journey. At the start of this story I did find it a bit confusing, however when I realised the story was jumping between the journey of the cactus discovery and the build-up to the find, the story clicked. The descriptive way the story was written gave you an understanding on how dire Nicholson’s journey was. Closing your eyes, you could picture the sights and smells of New Mexico and similarities to the old western films come to mind. Having Chigger as his guide, draws him into the supernatural world of the Native Americans. This has so much in for a short story and what Nicholson goes through for made me grimace.
The Vespertine. When a stranger goes to a medicine man for healing. This story starts off in Austria and how he became ill by what I think are vampires, to him being used like a lab animal and the horrendous experiments done to him. As he is relaying all this to the medicine man you can sense the desolation in his voice. This was my favourite of the two and I read it quickly. Throughout you are wondering whether he will get cured. A great ending.
This is a great book for a quick read, for 2 short stories it has a lot of horror in, but it also makes you think. Scattered through both stories are the native American’s struggle with their land. I enjoy reading this author’s work and again I was not disappointed.

Unquiet Waters (Black Shuck Shadows Book 3) by Thana Niveau
Published on 29th September 2017
68 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies


Water can be deceiving, one minute it is calm the next your life is in danger. These 4 stories capture the fearfulness of water.
To Drown the World: Evan had not seen his sister Lea, for many years. Not a lover of water, he could never understand her fascination. When he finally saw her, her living arrangements were dire, and she was acting very strange, but when he wants to get her to safety, the water is something to fear. Whilst this story has a horror feel, the real horror is humans polluting the oceans.
The Reflection: Ever had a dream that you were drowning, Allan has but can never find out who is trying to kill him. A regular guy with no enemies. This all changes when he meets a familiar face. Throughout this story, there was a sense of dread, you know something is going to happen to Allan. The suspense is built up as Allan encounters more people. Through Allan’s confusion, you do not see the ending coming.
Rapture of the Deep: To get Natalie out of her depression of breaking up with her boyfriend. Her best friend Jo takes her on an exciting holiday. With Karl, Jo’s boyfriend, they go on a boating holiday, where Natalie is taught to snorkel. From the start, you know that Jo is trying to help, but Natalie is too depressed to realise the help. However, when Natalie goes snorkelling, she is in awe of the sights and she starts to get uplifted. With her life in danger, the sound she hears has a siren feel to it. This is a sad story
Where the Water Comes in: My favourite story of the four. Tara lives in her dream home, happy with her life but has a strange drinking habit. She likes drinking seawater, usually infused seaweed tea. She also had a fascination of water and she put her body through a lot to get her fix. She even dreamt of the sea. As the house began to change so did Tara. This story builds up to the grand reveal and whilst reading this story, I did not have any idea what changes were going to occur.
With all four stories, the author knows how to set the scene. With water facts scattered throughout, you could tell that she did her research. As a new author to me this was a good introduction to her work.

Dark Satanic Mills (Great British Horror #2)

October 24, 2017 - 9:49 pm No Comments

Dark Satanic Mills (Great British Horror #2)
Published 29th September 2017 by Black Shuck Books
292 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies


As the nights are drawing in, there is nothing better than curling up with a good book. Dark Satanic Mills is one such book. We have all grown up with stories about monsters and urban legends, stories that have you looking over your shoulder, long after you have finished reading it. So, find a comfy chair, dim the lights and get ready to read 11 short stories that tick all the boxes.
Here are a few of my favourites:

Tools of the Trade by Paul Finch: Adam an investigative journalist has a meeting that if the information got out, will put a lot of people in a state of frenzy and will net him millions. Dick, a lowly council worker has a passion, he loved the paranormal. Whilst doing a séance in an unused hotel, he comes across an item that could solve one of the oldest cold cases ever. The story picked up intensity the moment they went into the hotel, being an abandoned building, you get the unexplained noises and the shadows that grow without light source. From the start all they had in mind was the amount of money they would make, at the end they had other plans with the items.

The Lies We Tell by Charlotte Bond: Cathy had a regular family, 2 children and a hardworking husband. The one golden rule in their house was no lies. In control of her life, she got what she wanted, but a constant clicking noise was threatening to ruin her life. Cathy was an ambitious working mom, although quite selfish. The persistent clicking noise was constant throughout the story and played with your imagination. One thing that gets you thinking is how many little white lies are told in a 24hrs.

Sleeping Black by Marie O’Regan: When Seth inherited a large Victorian house from his grandfather, a chimney sweep by trade, but as this is the 20th century the chimneys are cleaned by machinery. Whilst this is a ghost story, it explains the horrendous conditions that young boys went through cleaning the chimneys in Victorian times.

/d’ʒʌst/ by Carole Johnstone: When pairs of hands are left with notes written using the International Phonetic Alphabet, DCI Rafiq is at a loss. She has no idea who the victims are and had not a clue what the notes mean. Calling on the help of James Gavin and expert in IPA, she is involved in a cat and mouse situation. Not only had she a serial killer to catch, she was also trying to sort out her personal life. Before I read this story, I had never heard of IPA and I had to google all about it. Whilst the murders played a part in the story, the notes and DCI Logan’s life where the reason behind the story. The way the notes were explained added to the story, but for me I loved the twist at the end, where the killer was revealed and their reasonings behind the murders.

Great British Horror #1 was such a good read, I did wonder how it could be topped. But Steve Shaw has surpassed himself. A good choice of authors with a variety of stories. A must read for horror lovers. I for one hope there will be a Great British Horror #3

Ugly Little Things by Todd Keisling

September 15, 2017 - 6:46 pm No Comments

Ugly Little Things by Todd Keisling
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 15th September 2017
287 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies


Having not read anything by Todd Keisling, I didn’t know what to expect, but with titles like House of Nettle and Thorn and Saving Granny from the Devil, I wanted to find out. With 11 short stories to read you will encounter creepy dolls, an imaginary friend called Harvey and even a group of up and coming rock stars.
A Man in your Garden: Written from the 1st person POV, about a resident, that thinks there is a man in their garden. This story captured the person emotions after something catches their eye, ranging from doubt, anger, drunken ramblings and more. A gentle start to the book.
Show me where the Waters fill your grave: Jonathon spends his time watching the weather channel, waiting for news of a large rain storm. A widower of 4 years, he really misses his wife, but what happens when the land begins to flood. Throughout this story you can really feel Jonathon’s grief and the love he had for his wife and whilst the story concentrates on the current rainstorm, you learn more about their romance and the incident after Jonathon’s wife death. Throughout this story you know something is going on and that Jonathon is waiting for something to happen but what went on is not what I expected.
Radio Free Nowhere: Conrad and Ashley were on a road trip and like most of families cannot agree on the music for the journey. However; when Ashley hears a song, she cannot get out of her mind, it takes on an unexpected journey. Reading this story, I felt that Conrad was a bit of control freak, and on this journey Ashley found smalls way to defy him. When she heard the song for the 1st time, it reminded me of sailors hearing the sirens sing.
The Otherland Express: Gregory was running away after finally having enough of his abusive father. Meeting John Doe, he learns the secret of being invisible to others. Gregory teenage life was so sad and I could understand why he ran away and why he wanted to board the coach with John Doe. How he became invisible had an alien feel to it and it just shows how brave Gregory is.
Saving Granny from The Devil: Toddy’s best friend was his great grandma, spending most of his time with her, he would do anything for her. When Harvey a mysterious man rescues Toddy from bullies, it takes time for Toddy to realise who he is and when Toddy’s grandma falls ill, the deal he makes shapes his life. This was one of my favourite stories, and I enjoyed how a short story catalogued most of Toddy’s life, how he grew up, what he became and his regrets all because he loved his grandma and made a deal with Harvey.
The Darkness Between Dead Stars: Written by a member of the committee, this story tells us what really happened to Maxwell Foster on his one-man expedition in space. This story had the feel of a dying man’s confession and you could feel how guilty he was sending Maxwell into space. Reading how Maxwell was cracking up, I did keep wondering what was causing him to lose his mind.
Human Resources: Written in the style of an email, this is Alex’s resignation. The 1st paragraph was not what I was expecting for his reason for his resignation and I had to admit I did have a snigger when I read this. As he goes on explaining what else he had done, he does sound like a man possessed. The ending had me believe he was in some sort of cult and that he had gone mad. A different style of short story.
House of Nettle and Thorn: Jim and Nick have been invited to a party at a sorority house by a girl Jim had me online. They were typical hormonal lads, especially when they saw the girls at the house, think the brides of Dracula. Even when Nick sensed he was in danger he ignored it for a good time. Whilst there were hints on the identity of the girls from the start, their true form was not revealed till later into the story, this added suspense to the story and when it was discovered why they really wanted the boys, you just knew that Nick and Jim had no chance. A chilling story.
When Karen Met Her Mountain: Karen and Martin journey home soon turns into a matter of life and death. The story charts Karen’s recovery from depression, and whilst she was with Martin was vulnerable and relied heavily on him for support. However, when her life was in danger, she was a different person, strong, resourceful and focused on her task. I was surprised at how violent she could be and the unexpected twist at the end was graphic an a just ending.
The Harbinger: Felix a reporter for Toys in the Attic had an interview with the Miss Maggie Eloquence, a doll manufacturer. Renowned for their dolls, people travel far and wide to visit the town called Dalton. From the moment Felix arrived in the town, he knew something was wrong, a rancid smell and creepy dolls.
Porcelain dolls are one thing that creeps some people out and this story plays on those fears. The story had a slow build, a slight movement out of the corner of your eye, a head turned to watch, this really played on Felix’s mind and through all this was a terrible smell of pigs. The story intensified when Felix met Maggie. I had an admiration for Felix as with everything that happened to him, he never once turned back to alcohol. One of favourite scenes was when Felix fought against Noah and all I could think of was Chucky. This is one story I would like to know what happened when Felix drove away.
The last story is the novella The Final Reconciliation, previously released in February, this tells the story of an up and coming rock band The Yellow Kings. Johnny, Aidan, Hank and Bobby, all friends with a love of music. Embarking on a small tour, they quickly built up a dedicated fan base. After one gig they met Camilla, and from that first meeting, she took the band to a horrific high.
The story was written from Aidan’s POV as he gave an interview to a reporter 30 year after the tragic event. Reading this story, you could see how loyal Aidan was to his friends. Whilst he did not like the direction that Johnny was taking the band, he still stuck with them. Throughout the story there were hints to what Camilla is, but it was not until Aidan started having his dreams and the band started to record their album, that things start to get macabre. The secret gig was savage and a gory and when Aidan thought he had closure the reporter told him something that would make him lose his mind.
Whilst this story was gory in parts, the descriptive writing, made you live Aidan’s story. Carcosa even though a horrific place also had a beauty to it. The smaller details like the Chapter list, listed as song titles on an Album, and the reference to heavy metal made this a must read for horror and metal lovers. A great novella.
This is another book published by Crystal Lake that did not disappoint. Another great read

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