Posts Tagged ‘Short Stories’

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.  

Moonlight Serenades by Thom Carnell

April 20, 2019 - 10:41 am No Comments

Moonlight Serenades by Thom Carnell

Published by Crossroad Press Macabre Ink on 19th May 2016

310 pages

One thing I enjoy is short stories, the chance to read a complete story whenever I can get the chance. With 17 different stories, I had plenty of choices. Before each short story, the author gives an insight into how the story was created and where they got their inspiration from. For this review I am going to mention my favourites.    

Opening up with Wedding Day: it’s a story about loss. As you read this, the main protagonist emotions are raw. You can sense just how much they are grieving as they reminisce. The ending was a fitting end

The Thirst: the story about a lone vampire trying to survive after a disaster has nearly wiped out their food supply. There was a sadness to this story, you are left wondering how the vampire will survive without human blood and what a lonely existence.

Clown Town: The longest of the short stories and the story connected to the cover. We follow Detective Bumbo and Inspector Garbo as they try and solve the murder of Angeletta Trivelino at the renowned night club Marceau’s. The story is a crime noir and as I was reading it, I was imagining it being played out on a black and white TV being narrated by a gravelly voiced actor. The little touches to this story added to the enjoyment, whether it was the style of the clown’s makeup or every now and again Garbo would squeeze his horn to emphasise an emotion. Running throughout the story was Bumbo’s love story and his own femme fatale. I would enjoy reading further stories involving Bumbo and Garbo.

Chirality: Hattie Caulfield was out on her daily treks across the mountains and comes across a missing child. This was an easy-going story as you follow Hattie. I loved the twist at the end.

The Politics of Dancing: As I have not read any of this author before, I had not come across Cleese. However, after reading this story, I do want to find out more about him. Working for MEST, he is like a clean-up/hit squad for the undead. A zombie terminator. A quick read with plenty of action.

I enjoyed this book and with its mixture of genres, it will appeal to more than horror fans. 

Winter Freits (Black Shuck Shadows Book 9) by Andrew David Barker

April 3, 2019 - 8:32 pm No Comments

Winter Freits (Black Shuck Shadows Book 9) by Andrew David Barker

Published by Black Shuck Books on 15th February 2019 (Kindle Edition)

120 pages

I always look forward to a new book in the Black Shuck Shadow series. Whether I have read the author or not, I will always one click straight away.

The latest book Winter Freits features 3 winter-themed short stories. Polar Vortex, The House on Lidderman Street and Christopher.

Polar Vortex: A woman wakes up in the snow, injured and with no memory. As she slowly recovers her body and mind, she is haunted by a shadowy dark figure. From the start, you are drawn into this story as you want to know the same answers to her questions. Who is she? What is she doing there? As you read this story, you can sense her desperation as she tries to get her memory back and the concern that she is alone in the middle of nowhere. The appearance of the figure adds to her worries as she fears her life is in danger. This story is well plotted and all becomes clear at the end.

The House on Lidderman Street: Told twenty years after the event, Peter tells his tale of the goings on at Lidderman Street. Written in 3rd person POV, you can imagine sitting there listening to his tale. As soon as I began this story, I felt sorry for Peter, a young lad who was bullied by his work colleagues. The moment he is asked to decorate a run-down house, you know that something is going to happen. The strange noises and the feeling that something is there had me turning the pages at lightning rate as I wanted to find out about the mystery. A ghost story with a great ending.

Christopher: Daniel Swathe was at the point of suicide, wanting to cheer him up, his wife Carol and his best friend Lee decided to take him to a reunion at their old secondary school, just before it was knocked down. As you read this story you understand why Daniel was depressed. Whilst this is a supernatural story, it is a story of grief and loss. Not wanting to give anything away, this was an emotional read.

Whilst I have heard of this author, this was the 1st time I had read any of his works and I am definitely going to pick up more of his stories. This book is perfect for anyone who has a spare 20 minutes to read a story. You can pick it up and read whenever you have the time and not have to worry about missing out on any of the stories.

A great addition to the series.  

Slipping Through: Journey Through Different Dimensions by Miranda Kate

April 1, 2019 - 8:31 pm 1 Comment

Slipping Through: Journey Through Different Dimensions by Miranda Kate

Published 14th July 2018

118 pages

Having a common theme of travelling through time, this book contains 2 short stories and a novella.

InterDimensioning: Travelling via portals Elise and Logan arrive in a strange place where there was no human contact and the trees were lilac.

V.W.G: Vladimir thinks he has cracked the secret to another dimension, but are there forces against him.

The Game: David has been captured to play the Jester’s warped game travelling through different dimensions.

As soon as I started InterDimensioning, I already had questions. Why did they travel through the portal, where they escaping from someone? I felt that I had jumped into this story halfway through. The world they arrived was very unusual to what they had seen before and whilst Logan was the tech expert, Elise was the one that used her instinct to try and survive this strange world. This story is very descriptive and you can close your eyes and imagine the colourful world.

V.W.G From the start of this story, you are following Vladimir as he is racing for his life. As the story continues more is explained about the importance of his mission. This was a fun read with a matrix feel to it.

The Game was my favourite story, following David as he plays cat and mouse with the Jester. Whilst we don’t know why the Jester plays this game, we know that in the time where David comes from a lot of the residents go missing. Involved in the game were two mystery ladies Isabella and Annie. However, we don’t know whose side they are on. The dystopian worlds that David slips into are dangerous and you wonder if the Jester’s game is to kill or maim them. I would love to see this turned into a longer story and to have some background about the Jester and the game.

This is the 1st read from this author and looking at their books, I am interested in reading some other works.   

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color edited by Nisi Shawl.

March 19, 2019 - 7:42 am No Comments

So my time has come on the blog tour to showcase New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color edited by Nisi Shawl. Here is my review

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color edited by Nisi Shawl

Published by Solaris on 12th March 2019

239 pages

As soon as I read the blurb for this anthology, I knew that I wanted to read it. It ticks all the boxes when I look for an anthology, horror, sci-fi and fantasy. With any anthology I go in with an open mind, I know I won’t love every story but I can guarantee I can find some new authors who I will go onto purchase their work.

New Sun has 17 short stories that will introduce you to various cultures and religions, creatures from other realms and so much more. Each story was completely different and you will change genre from one story to the next.

For the purpose of this review, I will write about the ones I really enjoyed.

 The Fine Print by Chinelo Onwualu: The story about how one man wants to change the rules to protect his son. As you read this story, you learn how much Nuhu’s community rely on the Djinn for survival. The idea of the perfect woman (Spells) being got from a catalogue enforced the town’s need. The descriptive style of the author enabled you to imagine the spells, the views of the men and the desperation and determination of Nuhu to break the contract.  

Unkind of Mercy by Alex Jennings: Alaina-Rose talks about Johnny the love of her life and the strange feeling that something is in the room with her. I love reading stories that gets your imagination working. The story written from Alaina-Rose’s POV, helps you see how these mysterious creatures are starting to affect her and lets you decide whether it is supernatural or extraterrestrial.

The Freedom of the Shifting Sea by Jaymee Goh: Mayang an unusual sea creature and the affects she has on a mother and daughter. I really enjoyed this story. Yes, Mayang was a sea creature, but it was a story about love and loss. This story was beautifully written. You are drawn into their lives and as this story is told over a long period of time, you see how Mayang changed the lives of Salmah and Eunice.

One Easy Trick by Hiromi Goto: Marnie has a bit of a belly but after a trip into the forest to collect mushrooms, it all changes. As I was reading this story, I did not know what had happened to Marnie and rereading it, I still do not know what she did. However, that did not stop me enjoying this story, my favourite scenes were when she went back into the forest and her conversation with a bear. Reading this reminded me of the Adipose from Dr Who.

Kelsey and the Burdened Breath by Darcie Little Badger: This was my favourite story. Kelsey and Pal, her spirit dog earn a living rounding up lost souls. Written in the 3rd person, makes you feel that you are following her step by step. Tracking down the burdened breath tested her skills. This is a paranormal thriller and I would love to read more of Kelsey and if there were a series I would definitely buy it.

I am glad I got to read this anthology and as expected I have now added more authors to my list to look out for. If you are looking for refreshing stories than pick up this book.