At The Cemetery Gates: Year One is a collection of 14 short stories. Most of them feature cemeteries-if not actually set there, they're at least mentioned.
My favorite story of the bunch was An Epistle From the Dead which was a macabre tidbit with a touch of poignancy to it that really brought the story home.
Pictures of a Perpetual Subject was also a poignant tale with a haunting outcome that I won't soon forget.
The remaining stories were all good, but not outstanding. These are the types of tales to be told around a campfire at night or at a sleepover. In fact, I think they're perfect for those types of scenarios. Seasoned horror fans used to hard-core scares might come away slightly disappointed, but I believe the average horror reader would find these tales satisfying.
Today, this book is free! Click here: At The Cemetery Gates: Year One
*Horror After Dark was provided a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is it!*
Ley Line Drifter by Kim Harrison - A pixy tries to solve a mystery and gets more than he bargained for.
★★ I liked how cute it was but there was a lot of repetition.
Reckoning by Jeaniene Frost - Bones is asked to hunt a ghoul couple in New Orleans by its Voodoo Queen. Of course, things aren't as they seem.
★★★ I liked the darkness and that Bones was able to carry the story without Cat.
Dark Matters by Vicki Pettersson - Dark & Light come together when agents from the opposite side come together.
★ No surprises.
The Dead, the Damned, and the Forgotten by Jocelynn Drake - A vampire fights to keep her domain under her control while she is being framed.
★★ Loved the violence, for instance, check out the quote below:
The fledgling was still in the attic, chained to the wall. For a moment, I wondered if I should go up and free, but quickly shook off the thought and got into the car. If she couldn't find a way to free herself, then she would never survive in my world.
but the story lacked cohesion.
Two Lines by Melissa Marr - A glaistig does her best to fight temptation and stay mortal.
★★ I really liked the parts with the glaistig's family but other than that, the story was repetitive and boring.
All Souls' Night is an excellent collection of stories, originally published back in the 1930's. I listened to the audio version, narrated by the outstanding Matt Godfrey.
Not all of these tales were dark fiction or ghost stories, but-of course, those were my favorites. The ones that I enjoyed most were found right at the beginning, namely:
The Whistle I love tales about dogs and people that don't care for them. Dogs always know.
The Silver Mask Nothing outright horrific, really, but most definitely unsettling and surprising.
The Staircase Easily my favorite story in this collection. Featuring extremely keen insights into human behavior, (that stand up, even to this day), as viewed and acted upon, by the house itself. This one blew me away.
Lilac I thought this was going to be one kind of story, but it didn't go the way I thought it would at all.
As I said above, I listened to the audio of this book and I thought the narrator did a great job of bringing these tales alive. I could easily picture everything going on and the English accent was appropriate for the time and age in which the stories were set.
Overall, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. If you decide to try it out, don't expect all of the stories to be macabre, or to involve the supernatural. These tales vary widely, but all of them feature startling insights into the nature of humanity, and they are still true today.
Highly recommended, especially the audio version!
You can get your copy here: All Souls' Night (Valancourt 20th Century Classics)
*I was provided this audio book free of charge from the narrator, (through Audio Boom!) in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it. Thanks to you both for the opportunity!*
Review originally featured at Angel's Guilty Pleasures
A sizzling vampire romance anthology featuring enticing novellas from beloved and bestselling authors Katie MacAlister, Jessica Sims, and Molly Harper.
In “Shades of Gray” by Katie MacAlister, Noelle is a Guardian: a demon-wrangler, imp-banisher, and all-round secret protector of humans from the Otherworld. While working on the set of a ghost-busting reality show in a haunted castle, she meets a sexy vampire, and together they prevent a Master Demon from killing everyone in the castle.
In “Undead Sublet” by Molly Harper, executive chef Tess Maitland is banned from her five-star kitchen in Chicago to recover from “exhaustion.” Choosing a random rental house in Half-Moon Hollow to spend time in, she’s unaware that the house comes with a strange man. Even though Sam Masden’s ex-wife has rented the house out from under him, the divorce settlement allows him access to it for another ninety days. With Tess unable to go anywhere else, and Sam unwilling, a war of epic proportions is declared—and romantic sparks and heavy pots fly.
Jessica Sims’s “Out With a Fang” features Ruby Sommers, a lonely were-jaguar who signs up for a blind date through the paranormal dating agency Midnight Liaisons. When she arrives, she finds out that her date, a vampire, was the human she’d been in love with four years ago but was forced to dump.
I enjoyed these three novellas featuring the Dark Ones, Half-Moon Hollow, & Midnight Liaisons series. I read these novellas a long time ago way before I started reviewing and I remembered a little of what was going on. It was nice to re-read them. It made me want to re-read the Dark Ones series and to read more of the Half-Moon Hollow series. The Midnight Liaisons novella in this anthology was a new to me author/series. It didn’t impress me enough to want to read more in the series.
Shades of Gray (Dark Ones #10.5) by Katie MacAlister – Rated: 3.5 Stars
It’s been awhile since I read the Dark Ones series. This novella was fun and I’m thinking I might go back and re-read the series.
From what I remember in the series Noelle had a Dark One and is a Beloved, but it turned out she wasn’t that Dark One’s Beloved and her X feel for her roommate instead. In this novella she feels rejected and when she gets another chance at finding love in Grayson she’ll do what she can to protect and keep him.
Even if you haven’t read the series the author does a good job of explaining what a Drak One is and all the steps in the joining process for Beloveds.
Shades of Gray was a sweet and fun read.
Undead Sublet (Half-Moon Hollow #2.5) by Molly Harper – Rated: 4 Stars
I’ve just started to get back into the Half-Moon Hollow series. It’s light humor, fun, and enjoyable. I like Ms. Harper’s humor.
In the Undead Sublet we have Tess a human and a chef. She’s overworked herself and other areas of her life aren’t going so well, so she ends up taking a vacation to Half-Moon Hollow. Then there’s Sam her unexpected roommate in the home she rents. These two don’t hit it off, but eventually they both find healing and what they need in each other. I love how Tess ends up falling in love with the town and starts to build an exciting future there, when she didn’t have plans to stay. Sam I loved him. He was sweet and kept Tess on her toes.
Undead Sublet was a humorous, sweet, fun and enjoyable read.
Out with a Fang (Midnight Liaisons #2.2) by Jessica Sims – Rated: 3 Stars
This was a new to me author and series. We get a second chance love story.
Well Ruby is a shifter and hasn’t been able to find a date since she broke up with her X. Deep down she still loves him, but humans and supernaturals can’t date, one nights sure, but no permanent relationships allowed. What does she do, but turn to a dating agency and go on a blind date. Things get weird and unusual at the get go.
This was a fast-paced story. The second chance at love comes quickly and they fall into bed fast. The vampires featured in this novella aren’t new. They are the dead ones with no beating hearts and can’t be out in the sun. All that typical vampire lore.
Out with a Fang was just ok.
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