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review 2017-04-18 16:06
Garden of Fiends Anthology
Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror - Bentley Little;P. Gardner Goldsmith;Lorne Dixon;Michael A. Arnzen;Pat MacEwen;Ray Garton;Ian Withrow;John F.D. Taff;Jeff Strand;Kevin Lucia;Benjamin Kane Ethridge;Shane McKenzie;Steve Vernon;Charles Colyott;Taylor Grant;Dev Jarrett;Eric J. Guignard;J. S.

This is a truly excellent collection of short stories all about the struggle of addiction. All have a horror twist and there isn’t a dud in the bunch. If I didn’t have to work, feed and clean up after people all the live-long day, I would’ve finished it in one sitting because it’s that good. I’m not going to rate them. Just know that they’re all around the 4 1/2 – 5 star range which totally averages out to a 5, right?

 

A Wicked Thirst by Kealan Patrick Burke

 

Things get off to a dark start (and stay there, really) with this story about a man caught in the throes of alcohol addiction. His life is a wreck, he is haunted by his mistakes, by his never-ending thirst and perhaps by something supernatural. It’s unflinching and you really do feel for this mess of a man as he is helpless to stop the all-consuming thirst . . .

 

The One in the Middle by Jessica McHugh

 

In a not too distant future, a man has lost the love of his life due to his addiction. This only feeds the vicious cycle as he longs for drugs to take away his emotional pain. He lives in a desperate world where the wealthy pay big bucks for something only the drug addicted can offer them. But he’s not desperate enough to sink to that, or is he? This is apparently an excerpt from a longer work called Green Kangaroos, which I now need because I am the nosey sort, but the story feels complete enough here. This one is dirty and brutal and harrowing.

 

Garden of Fiends by Mark Mathews

 

Oh how I loved this one. It’s haunting and terrifying and all around awesome. Tara is a recovering addict and every day is a struggle to remain sober. She has a family who loves her and will do anything to keep her alive and I do mean anything. This is a story about an addict, a garden that grows terrible fruit and the damage it all does to one once close-knit, loving family. It’s sad and horrible and beautifully written.

 

First, Bit Just a Finger by Johann Thorsson

 

This is a little snippet of a story that started with a party trick that turns one woman on to a new obsession that’ll put some images in your head you may not easily forget. Eww this was disturbing! So fantastically disturbing and I wanted more!

 

Last Call by John FD. Taff

 

Ted is a slave to his addiction. When he shows up loaded at his latest AA meeting his sponsor is forced to take drastic measures and hands him a business card, telling him to go to the address on the card and ask for “the last bottle he’ll ever need”. He gets it and gets his life together but the past will come back to haunt in a most terribly heartbreaking way.

 

Torment of the Fallen by Glen Krisch

 

Maggie is 15, a runaway, sees demons and sets out on a course of disaster to locate her father. This was like watching an extremely dark episode of Supernatural with a surprise ending and I adored it.

 

Everywhere You’ve Bled and Everywhere You Will Be by Max Booth III 

 

This one starts out in a most startling manner. Jeremy arises after a saucy night to discover that blood is oozing out of a place it shouldn't be oozing out of. He tries to shrug it off as a result of overuse but it’s difficult to shrug off something like that, especially when it doesn’t stop oozing! Uh oh. This story is darkly comical and is laced with my favorite kind of twisted humor. It’s probably my favorite because of that. Sex, drugs, cravings, spiders and madness fueled by drugs and nightmare images? What’s not to like? It’s also gory and bloody and so very messy. I loved it all.

 

Returns by Jack Ketchum 

 

Awww, this was a short and beautifully told ghost story about a depressed alcoholic, a man and a cat ending with a Ketchum edge. It’s a little scary to me that I just so happened to take this particular progress photo when sitting down to read this collection!

 

 

This book was a very cohesive collection and I am so glad I changed my stance on short story collections (due to burn out) and gave this one a try! I received an ARC from the publisher.

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review 2017-04-08 21:45
Uneven but fun
End of Days - Susan Ee

I kept wavering between being annoyed by the romantic tumor and cheering from the spurts of awesomeness. Mostly I was carried by the fast current of fun. Some of the swerves in the rapids were umbelivably ridiculous but it floats on the rule of epic I guess. And the quotable anvil commentary.

 

Don't think about it too much and have fun if you strap onto this one.

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review 2017-03-29 15:46
Little Dead Red by Mercedes Yardley (audio)
Little Dead Red - Mercedes M. Yardley
This is a not happy tale. Terrible things happen to innocent people.

Little Red Dead is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood which was never a sweet tale anyway, but author Mercedes Yardley takes the bones of that fable and gives it a very gritty, very modern treatment and turns it into a horrifying read.

Some women have all the luck. Marie is not one of them. I don’t want to spoil too much of the story and am honestly unsure how to even tackle this review. I’ll just say that Marie suffers from two huge losses that leave her devastated, emotionally drained and at her wits end. After a kind man and his wife intervene, instead of succumbing to depression she decides to plot revenge.

This is a well plotted, well executed, bleak and painfully emotional short story – all the things I look for in a story such as this but it is not an feel good read. You have been warned.

Narration Notes: As this story is told from Marie’s POV, I’m not going to lie, I do wish it had been narrated by a woman but that’s my own personal preference. That said, narrator Joe Hempel does a fine job with the darkness of the story and doesn’t ruin the female voices with painful falsetto. I cannot tell you how many times a guy has ruined a female character for me with a cringy performance and vice-versa. I found it hard to tear myself away from the audio and do things like go to work and listen to people who needed to ask me oh so important questions that could not wait (yeah, that’s sarcasm you hear there) because the storytelling was so involving.

I received a copy of this audiobook courtesy of Audiobook Boom.
 
 

 

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review 2017-03-29 06:35
My bad
Storm of the Century: An Original Screenplay - Stephen King

I`d forgotten why I'd skipped this one the first time and I dove in again decided to finish. It's a screenplay. I hate reading plays. I slugged through several of Shakespeare's and a couple of other authors' and managed to enjoy myself through on the brillancy of their dialogue alone, but I can't help the want to enjoy them in their meant form each time.

 

This lacked the nuanced lines that could make it worth reading as it is, and I didn't much care for the story line either. The idea is interesting, bad choices all around, comunity, greater good, "paying as you go", and the resolution was unexpectedly mercyful (it could have gotten a lot more uggly, either choice taken, but it works with the idea of good type of comunity). It still fell a bit short for me. Flat. As in, I didn't much care. Which could well be the format delivery, so thus the title.

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review 2017-03-13 20:39
Consent
Consent - A.J. Rose

To say that I have pushed my limit on this book is putting it mild.  While the other two books in this series deal with victims of rape and physical abuse, this one does so from the eyes of a beloved character and it was painful.  This one is not to be taken lightly and while I knew briefly what was coming, I was not all together prepared for some of these scenes and the horrific terror our character endured.

 

 

This most definitely was the darkest of the three books so far in this series and if it was not for the love between Ben and Gavin, I am not sure Elsbeth and I would have made it through this book.  But forge ahead we did and what an outcome it was. 

 

This really was quite remarkable and I am so happy to have made this journey.

 

I was stronger with Ben. Always had been. There would always be people who didn’t understand it, either the idea of two men together, or the power exchange we subscribed to. I didn’t care what anyone else thought. The plain truth was I was a better person with him by my side. I could endure more, had more to give back, and had more confidence in myself than ever before.

“I love you,” I said, mouthing the edge of his jaw. “You’re my anchor. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

 “I love you, too. And you don’t have to find out. Because I’ve got your back, Gavin. Always.”

 

So many characters I want to see explored further with more stories to be told and I can only hope one day we will get them.  Until then, I will love on these a little longer.

 

 

Thank you Elsbeth, for being ahead of me on this and holding my hand.  

 

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