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review 2017-09-07 03:07
Haunted Nights edited by Ellen Datlow and Lisa Morton
Haunted Nights - Lisa Morton,Ellen Datlow

 

Haunted Nights collects several previously unpublished stories from an array of excellent authors-with the bonus that they're all connected- by Halloween. It may not be exactly the Halloween that we as Americans are used to, but the seeds are still the same-whether they're sown in Scotland or Ohio. I found quite a few stories to shine for me in this anthology and here are a few of them:

 

John Langan's Lost in the Dark is one of my favorite types of haunting tales-the disconcerting kind. That House of Leaves eeriness combined with a cool framing device and several stories within a story all equal out to a very satisfied Char.

 

With Graveyard Weeds and Wolfbane Seeds by Seanan McGuire was impressive and convinced me that I need to give more of her work a try. Always remember that those Halloween tricks can get you into trouble-especially if you trick the wrong person.

 

A Small Taste of the Old Country by Jonathan Maberry. This one was predictable, but man, I just wanted it to happen so badly. When it did, I couldn't have been happier.

 

The Seventeen Year Itch by Garth Nix would have made one hell of a Twilight Zone episode. This story put me in mind of those old horror and sci-mags back in the day. There is a lot of punch, (and scratching!), packed into this short story.

 

A Flicker of Light on Devil's Night by Kate Jonez is a downer of a tale, but I can't deny how powerfully it was written to make me feel that way.

 

All Through the Night by Elise Forier Edie. What another sad, sad tale! Halloween is not all fun and games and neither is the horror genre. Sometimes it's fun and imaginative, (see The Seventeen Year Itch), but sometimes it's all too realistic. Often it's those hard to look at stories, the ones about the lives of real people and the hardships they go through, that are the most horrific of all.

 

The Turn by Paul Kane. This is the perfect title-because it's exactly what you want-NO-are compelled to do when you hear footsteps behind you on a dark street. But what if you would be okay, if only you didn't turn. Would you be able not to?

 

John Little's The First Lunar Halloween and Jeffrey Ford's Witch Hazel rounded out my favorites in this collection.

 

I loved the fact that ALL of these stories were new and I adored the connection they had to Halloween. I've previously been disappointed in collections where I've discovered, (too late!), that I'd already read many of the stories within. These were fresh tales and featured some fresh, (at least to me), authors, as well as some tried and true. It is my excited opinion that this anthology belongs on any horror lover's shelves-but especially to those of us that have a love of all things Halloween!

 

Highly recommended!

 

Get your copy here: Haunted Nights 

 

 *Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for this e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. This is it.* 

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review 2017-09-01 21:53
Flying Lessons Book Review
Flying Lessons & Other Stories - Ellen Oh

I'm not a huge short story reader nor a big fan of middle grade books but this was cute and a fast read. Grace Lin had my favorite story. I'm not sure if a middle grade student would really enjoy this one as the stories tend to end too quickly (hence why I never like short stories myself). 

 

I'll be hearing Ellen Oh speak next month so I'll be curious to see what she has to say about this book. 

 

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url 2017-08-01 15:50
August Kindle Firsts -- unusual number of translations (Prime members can select one free ahead of scheduled publication)
The Judgment of Richard Richter - Ellen Elias-Bursać,Igor Štiks
The Heart Echoes - Tiina Nunnally,Helena von Zweigbergk
Song of Edmon (The Fracture Worlds Book 1) - Adam Burch
When They Come for You (Harper McDaniel) - James W. Hall
P.S. from Paris - Marc Levy
All the Little Children - Jo Furniss

As has become usual, none of these are traditionally or self published and instead are all from Amazon imprints.

Source: www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/kindlefirst
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review 2017-07-28 07:32
Body in the Bayou (Cajun Country Mystery, #2)
Body on the Bayou - Ellen Byron

The writing could be a little bit tighter, but as it is, this was a good cozy mystery that kept me reading pretty much non-stop.

 

The start was a little slow, and the writer forced the reader to endure a romantic conflict a la tortured silence that I could have done without and she drove me crazy with all the silly euphemisms for swearing, but the ending had me reaching for the kleenex.  That last page bumped my rating up to the full 4 stars both because it was touching and unexpected without being at all overplayed.  

 

The mystery plotting was well done; I was inclined at first to criticise the author for taking the route of fingering the least involved character, but thinking about it, the clues were there and I just didn't put them together.  My bad, not hers.

 

A fun cozy with a heart warming sweet side, a little zaniness, and a pretty good murder mystery.

 

 

Total pages:  310

$$: $6.00   

(Lots of crying on the pages; a little teariness off the pages.)

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review 2017-07-22 15:39
"The Life She Was Given", by Ellen Marie Wiseman
The Life She Was Given - Ellen Marie Wiseman

Set in the 20th century, this very emotional tale weaves together the stories of two women. Alternately we follow Lilly Blackwood, a young albino girl who has been kept in a secret attic room most of her life till one day her mom sold her to a traveling circus freak show. Once there we are in the circus world, with all the good and bad. We jump two decades later, with Julia Blackwood returning to the family farm where she will soon discover the attic’s dark secrets ….

The story is very touching as we slowly discover the disturbing and frightening things done to Lilly and the kind of life she had hidden away in an attic for years and how she must have felt to be sold by someone she loved to an unscrupulous man running a circus. Undeniably Ms. Wiseman did extensive research to recreate the circus life, its slang, performers and their superstitions, animals training and shows, their behaviours including noises and most of all, how the freak shows was run and how important and lucrative this sideshow was, not forgetting the presence of fraudulent medium star performer who was the highlight in many ways. In graphic scenes, the story also explores how the circus animals were treated or mistreated. 

The story overlaps with Julia taking over her family’s horse business and slowly the secret that binds the two lies at the heart of the tragedy…..Moving between Lilly’s and Julia stories the authors has portrayed two extraordinary and very different women with exceptional life filled with family secrets, tragedy, hope and joy. Their stories displayed a mix of emotions that can possibly drain some readers. Both characters are compelling as well as the myriad of vivid secondary players even the evil ones. All roles were played perfectly.

This engrossing tale is written in short chapters using contemporary language and keeps a steady pace throughout. “The Life She Was Given” is a page tuner almost impossible to put down.

I received this review copy from the publisher via Netgalleys .

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