Posts Tagged ‘Short Stories’

Purple Wish: A Valentine Fairy Tale and Ravenous both by Lorraine Versini

May 2, 2017 - 9:38 pm No Comments

If you have a spare hour and want to pick up two short stories that are a great read, then these two stories are just what you are looking for.

Purple Wish: A Valentine Fairy Tale by Lorraine Versini
Published on 5th May 2013
32 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Prince Jeffery was a gentle prince, more into poetry and arts than into running the monarchy, but when his older brother went missing he had to step up and learn to be king. One of his father’s final wishes was for Jeffery to find a wife. With mischievous goings on and a mysterious woman, will Jeffery fulfil his father’s wish.
Usually fairy tales are written from the POV of the princess, so this was a pleasant change to read it from the prince’s POV. The fantasy element was hinted at throughout the story and left me intrigued to find out who was causing the accidents. I did feel sorry for Jeffery as he was tied to a life that he did not want to live; however, you could tell he was a man of honour and did not want to upset his father. On his journey into the woods he was a completely different man, and when he met Gwyneth, his true self emerged and you knew he had a hard decision.
With some short stories, they do not feel complete, but the author wrote this story perfectly. The descriptive writing helped you imagine you were following in Jeffery’s shoes. A well written short story that grabbed my attention from page 1.

 

Ravenous by Lorraine Versini
Published on 8th November 2014
29 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

 

When Bastian’s mom would not wake up, nobody realised what had cause her death. The only sign of death was puncture wounds on her body. It is not until Bastian’s dog is injured do we find out what is causing the damage.
The author had a way of adding tension to a scene that you would not expect to find, especially when Bastian and Nancy took Max for a walk I expected something big and wild to attack them there and then. However, I did not imagine what happened next. For a book that only had 29 pages it was intense and although it is a quick read I could not put it down as I wanted to know what killed Bastian’s mom. The epilogue at the end tied up the story perfectly and it was a nice touch reading where the author got her ideas from. As it was based in France I had no idea of the landscape where the story was set and it was great to read the author’s personal experiences of living there.
A perfectly formed short story that will get your heart racing

The Infernal clock curated by David Shakes and Stephanie Ellis

April 15, 2017 - 2:16 pm No Comments

The Infernal clock curated by David Shakes and Stephanie Ellis

Published on 31st March 2017

306 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

I borrowed this book on Kindle Unlimited, as the blurb got my interest. 24 stories each a different hour, counting down time till the clock strikes no more.  Not having prior knowledge of any of the participating authors, I did not know what to expect, but as a lover of horror and from page one I knew I had made a good choice. There were so many stories I enjoyed some just for the true horror whilst others made you think on the situation of the story. Here are a few of my favourites:

Highland Game by Karen Gray: Set in the Scottish Highland a visitor to a scout camp tells the story of a Kelpie an old folklore creature, around the camp fire, but by midnight it all end in tragedy for one scout leader.  If you know old folklore you know that Kelpies are Scottish creature living in lochs and as this story was based on the original beliefs. A well-paced quick read.

The Graveyard Shift by Stephanie Ellis: Set in a sleep clinic, we follow Joseph the night security guard on his final hour of his shift between 3am-4am. It was a pleasant change to read a story not sent in a mental asylum, and whilst there were patients there that would be a home in one, this was centred around the guard and not what crimes they did. With the help of a Danish Nurse, Joseph was made to confront what he had done to previous patients. Yet another story using folklore, although I had not heard of this one. I enjoyed reading about this creature and how the author tied it together with night terrors and missing people made it a good read.

Tartarus by Tim Kimber: At 5am Jaclyn and Oscar were leaving a rave, high on drugs they decide to go to an after rave party. With the grief of their brother still raw, they use this time to get closer together, but when the guests at the party are not what they seem, Jaclyn knows that she has to be the big sister and save Oscar.  From the moment, they walked into the party, you have the sense that something was going to happen. For a short story this book is full if suspense and one story that you do not want to put down. Although this a horror story this a story about grief and 2 siblings coming to terms with their brother’s death.

Always Protect the Ones you love: Bart Van Goetham: It’s 7pm and Belinda is home from work and listening to the news. With terrorism, serial killers, Belinda worries for her new daughter, but the length that’s she goes to, to protect her is extreme.  As a parent, you do worry about world the that your children are going up in, but I couldn’t believe what Belinda did to her family. A chilling story about a mother’s love.

Whispers by Stephanie Ellis: A family living in a house with a gruesome reputation. That little voice you hear telling you to do things. The family that live in the house have a lot of secrets, and the malignant spirit knows, a few quiet words whispered in their ears and he gets what he wants. This story was about human nature, the spirit knew exactly how to play people. The spirit came out to play at 8pm.

Watershed by Stella Turner: Harriet was a collector. Like her mom before her, but unlike most people who collected the likes of dolls, teddy bears, thimbles etc. Harriet had quite a macabre taste. At 9pm the watershed, when British TV can show scenes not for children’s eyes, Harriet decided to share her collection with her boyfriend Leon. This story builds up to 9pm and you can feel the apprehension in Harriot why she is waiting to share her collection, and whilst you are wandering what Leon’s reaction will be the author adds a twist that you never seen coming and the graphic ending puts Harriot’s collection to a whole new level.

Although the stories count down from Midnight you can read them in any order. This book had a good collection of stories that kept me entertained. What showcased the authors talents was that they only had an hour for the timeline of their story, and with some I could not get over how much action, suspense and horror they managed to fit in. A good anthology

Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction by Kenneth W Cain

April 1, 2017 - 10:42 pm No Comments

Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction by Kenneth W Cain

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 30th March 2017

217 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

 

As a fan of short stories, I jumped at the chance to read this book.  As usual when I read a collection of short stories I have my favourites, so for this review I will mention the ones that stood out for me.

To Save One Life: This short story is about a serial killer. Due to this being written from the Hero’s POV, you can really imagine being in the room whilst the killer does the deed. I can guarantee that you will be as surprised as me when you find out who the hero is.

Final Breath: Glenda is sitting by her dying daughter’s bed and makes a statement that she tries to keep. This is a story about a mother’s grief and as a mom myself, my heart was with Glenda. I can understand why she did what she did and the fear of the chase makes this story a page turner.

Pirouette: Like the majority of young girls Maddie wants to be a ballerina and spends all her time at home practising. Unfortunately, unlike other girls Maddie’s home is not a happy one. This story tackles domestic violence, which is always a difficult subject to tackle and although some of the scenes were harrowing, this story went to show how brave Maddie and her mom where.

A Window to Dream by: Seth is staying in a hotel whilst working away from home and comes obsessed with a mysterious woman. As she is not your stereotypical beautiful woman I could not understand why he had such a fascination. However, as the story progressed and the scenes got more descriptive, showed how obsessed Seth was and what he was willing to lose. A good twist at the end involving the group of homeless men.

Water Snake. This is one of the creepiest stories in this book. If you have a fear of swimming in open water than do not read this. This story was intense and you knew something was going to happen, but even I was surprised how the story progressed. A fast pace story with so much action, it puts some full-length stories to shame.

Not having read anything before by Kenneth W Cain, I did not know what to expect, but from page 1 I enjoyed reading each and every word. Each story is individual and you will not find two stories the same, whether it is a widower grieving for his lost wife or an ancient hermit hiding in his cave. With 25 stories, this book will keep you entertained for hours. A great read that lets your imagination run wild.

Blowback by Paul StJohn Mackintosh

February 22, 2017 - 6:20 pm No Comments

Blowback by Paul StJohn Mackintosh

Published by H Harksen Productions on 3rd August 2016

(Alternative Title: Black Propaganda)

Reviewed by Chris Amies

Mackintosh’s tendency is to the dark and the gothic. From the opening story “The first Circus of the New Year” with its atmosphere of high decadence and bloody resolution we are off for a circus ride among the deranged and decadent. “Advertising Autoerotic Asphyxiation” borders the Society of the Spectacle and William S Burroughs’ fixation with hanging and his cynical approach to the modern media, which lurks in the background of most of the stories: the hunger of the mob for blood or indeed circuses.

“The Princess And The Dragon” is a nostalgically sensual tale set in Singapore, and handles a caring S&M relationship better than some recent offerings we can think of. The Pacific Rim features in several stories in this volume – and one of my favourites given my fondness for Lovecraftiana, is “The People of the Island”, suitably full of dread and dampness and a mysterious marginal race clinging to their batrachian gods in an island off Hong Kong.

“Master of Darkness” is essentially a murder mystery set in London though with an interesting mix of perceptions – at first it reads like the 1930s but there are blogs and the unaffordable hollowed-out London of the 21st century. It all depends which character’s viewpoint you are in. This tale has a good use of mythology too, the kind of thing Ben Aaronovitch writes, in a good way but with that monochrome-shot-with-scarlet nod to the clubland mysteries of the 1930s. It could quite easily be a film though whether a period piece starring Basil Rathbone or bring it up to date with Ben Affleck or Cumberbatch is another matter.

“The Island of Dr Bataille” as its title suggests, resembles “The Island of Dr Moreau” in some ways though its resolution is strangely and deliberately low-key; the typical Mackintosh protagonist is often not so much resigned to fate as welcomes it. Similarly in “Coma Berenice” a celebrity finds a unique way to disappear from the world’s attention; as the narrator of “The Mutations of Fame” says, if you want to live whole and long, live invisible and dim. I don’t, Berenice says, want to be there when you do it; and she is and she isn’t. Is she a victim (as many of his female characters are, participating in a voyeuristic ride to desecration or destruction) or a protagonist, or both?

This book does have an alternative title – in some places it is known as “Black Propaganda” which may give you some idea of the kind of thing it is, a kind of Manichean journey into night, but if you find a Mackintosh book called “Black Propaganda” it’s the same stories as “Blowback” so don’t buy it twice. Buy it once though, by all means.

Visions of the Mutant Rain Forest by Robert Frazier and Bruce Boston

February 16, 2017 - 9:13 pm No Comments

Visions of the Mutant Rain Forest by Robert Frazier and Bruce Boston

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 10th February 2017

199 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Even today the Amazon Rain forest still has its mysteries, with exotic plants and creatures that lay undiscovered. This collection of stories and poems take you on an adventure of the strange happening that go on in the forest.

The poems were scattered throughout this book breaking up the stories. Whilst I am not a big fan of poetry, I really enjoyed reading them as I felt they took you deeper into the forest with the descriptive writing you feel that you are there, exploring the area. Luminous Decay to me was a poem about a tribe living in the forest. Another poem I enjoyed was A Gourmand of the Mutant Rain Forest, A poem about gluttony and the consequences.

The stories were of various lengths and in each story the characters had a different experience in the forest. Whilst I enjoyed all of the stories, my favourites were

Cruising Through Blueland, the story of Jeri Cristobel rescuing his brother Eric whilst being a pawn in a revolution. With psychic powers, enormous creatures and space technology, this story is a great introduction to what wonders the forest homes.

Holos at an Exhibition of the Mutant Rain Forest. Holographer Genna Opall and guide Jorge are hired by Mingus to find his missing wife. With them going deeper into the forest, they come across mother nature’s creations turning this into more than a missing person case.

If you want a different type of sci-fi book, then this is the one for you. With the mixture of poems and stories that keep you Interested from the moment you start to read. As it is set in the rain forest, then expect South American terms, I did use my dictionary a lot on my kindle but this was not a bad thing as I felt as I learnt more about South America. This is a complete change to what I usually read but I am glad I took the time to read it.