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review 2018-11-12 17:55
WELCOME TO THE SHOW edited by Doug Murano
Welcome to the Show: 17 Horror Stories – One Legendary Venue - Somer Canon,Rachel Autumn Deering,Brian Keene,Jeff Strand,Matt Hayward,Glenn Rolfe,Patrick Lacey,Matt Serafini,Adam Cesare,Jonathan Janz,Kelli Owen,Doug Murano,Mary SanGiovanni,Robert Ford,Bryan Smith,Booth Tarkington,John Skipp,Alan M. Clark

 

WELCOME TO THE SHOW is a themed anthology with all of the stories revolving around, (or involving in some way), a rock n' roll club named The Shantyman. That's it! There's no hard thread connecting all the tales other than the club itself. That makes WELCOME TO THE SHOW different because there's no one "bad guy" to blame things on. In this case, the "bad guy" is anyone or anything the writer wanted them to be. In this regard, I think the authors involved had a lot more leeway as far as the direction each story would take and I think that resulted in an above average anthology as far as the quality AND the variety of the stories within.

 

I can't get into all of them here, because I don't want this review to be as long as the book itself, but the tales that stood out the most to me were:

 

WHAT SORT OF RUBE by Alan M. Clark was a perfect start to this book, providing a bit of history and setting the tone. (I've never read any of Clark's work before, but he's on my radar now.)

 

NIGHT AND DAY AND IN BETWEEN by Jonathan Janz. This story went in a totally different direction than what I had expected. Loved it!

 

TRUE STARMEN by Max Booth. I'm not sure that it was supposed to, but this story cracked me the hell me up! It's the first time THE SHANTYMAN hosted pod-casters instead of a band, and the results just made me laugh.

 

OPEN MIC NIGHT by Kelli Owen. The 27 Club-you know, those singers and musicians that never made it past that age? I thought this anthology would be a shoe-in for stories about that club, but this was the only one. I was glad because it made this tale stand out even more.

 

PARODY by Jeff Strand. Zany Chester and his plans to be the next Weird Al fizzle out before they even got started. (It's birdies, not bodies!) Chester had to go to a few back up plans, actually, and none of them were pretty.

 

DARK STAGE by Matt Hayward. This tale spoke to me in a personal way which made it that much more horrifying at the end.

 

A TONGUE LIKE FIRE by Rachel Autumn Deering. The end was NOT what I was expecting at the beginning. Usually I can see that coming..in this case I saw something coming, but not what I got. Well done!

 

Brian Keene's tale RUNNING FREE made me laugh at the premise before it got all serious. (A man trying to run himself to death by heart attack, thereby evading death from the cancer already running through his body. Come on, that's kind of funny! [All right, I know I'm messed up.]) Anyway, this story didn't go the way I thought it would and I loved how it tied into previous tales in this book.

 

WE SING IN DARKNESS by Mary SanGiovanni. This story had everything that I've come to expect from Mary's work. A terrifying future where music is banned is only the beginning.

 

I enjoyed this collection and even though it was a little uneven throughout, the variety and quality more than made up for that. I liked that everyone didn't have quite the same view was to what was going on at The Shantyman because that allowed for more creativity in the tales. Variety is the spice of life and all that, you know?

 

I read a lot of collections and anthologies over the course of a year and there is no doubt in my mind that WELCOME TO THE SHOW will be among the best I've read this year. For this reason, I highly recommend it!

 

You can get your copy here: WELCOME TO THE SHOW

 

*11.12.18 We are currently reading this book, along with most of the authors in the Horror Aficionados Group at Goodreads. Feel free to join us, read along, and ask questions of the writers, if you like! (Our read continues until the end of this month.) Here's a link: WELCOME TO THE SHOW at Horror Aficionados

 

**I bought this book with my hard earned cash and these opinions are my own.**

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review 2018-10-15 02:13
Not Afraid of No Ghosts
The Other Side - J.D. Robb,Patricia Gaffney,Mary Blayney,Ruth Ryan Langan

Typical anthology, some stories were good, though most were meh. I would probably have put this aside after the JD Robb story, but kept plugging away.

 

Possession in Death (In Death #31.5) by JD Robb (3.5 stars)- This is a futuristic romance taking place in 2060. It was nice to read an In Death story showing all of Eve's coworkers and people important to her. We start off with everyone at a fun BBQ which is quickly overshadowed by murder. I do wish that the more recent works had everyone together in them and actually just hanging out. I had no idea how much I missed that until I read this story. We have Eve called away and finds herself holding an older Romany woman (Gizi) who was stabbed to death. Eve agrees to find Gizi's granddaughter Beata that has gone missing. Eve realizes slowly though that somehow she has been possessed by Gizi. She and Roarke work together to see if they figure out what happened to Beata in order for Eve to return back to normal. I liked the thought of Eve being able to see ghosts and help lay them to rest. Frankly it's not much different from her dreams which have seemed to gotten more prophetic at times during the series. In the end though, the entire story-line moved a little too fast (not surprising since this is a short story) and we don't get a chance to digest things.

 

The Other Side of the Coin by Mary Blayney (5 stars)- This is a historical romance taking place in 1810. The one story not about ghosts in any way was my favorite. I liked the idea of the Earl of Fellsborough (Harry) swapping bodies with his wife (Bettina). They have an argument and both throw a mysterious coin that is nearby and wish for things at the same time. Bettina wishes that Harry could be in her shoes and Harry wishes that his wife would trust him. It was pretty funny to read them trying to deal with the ins and outs of being men and women in this time period. We also got to see their views on a lot of things such as the slave trade too. The funniest scene though was when the Earl got a period (in his wife's body) and I maybe laughed so hard I hurt my ribs. The agony he was in and the countess just rolling her eyes was hilarious. 

“Does it feel like some monster from hell is working its way through your stomach and below and the only relief will be when it explodes out of you? But before that can happen the pain fades, but only for a few moments.”

“Yes.” He sounded amazed at her insight.

“It happens every month, my lady,” Bettina said with a sarcastic emphasis on the honorific. “Indeed, it will happen monthly right before your courses for the next twenty years.”

“God help me.” 

I also like how Blayney played with romance scenes in this one too. 

 

Dancing Ghost by Patricia Gaffney (3 stars)-This is a historical romance taking place in 1895. A young woman (Angie Darlington) hires a man (Henry Cleland) who claims to be a paranormal investigator. Angie doesn't really believe that Henry can find or sense ghosts. She is merely trying to use him to prove her grandparent's house is haunted in order to prevent her cousin from selling it. I just found myself bored while reading this. Neither characters interested me much. I was more interested in the literary sayings about love that were appearing on a mirror in a bedroom. 

 

Almost Heaven by Ruth Ryan Langan (2 stars)-This is a contemporary romance. Ted and Vanessa are an older and happily married couple. They leave a party celebrating their daughter's engagement and died when the brakes fail. They get to stay on this side as ghosts and are told they can hang around for a while, but not interfere. Things get dicey though when they realize that someone purposely murdered them. This and the next story are among my least favorite in this anthology. Probably because we don't get any character development from Christina and Jake. They are just props in the overall story and you don't really root for them. I also didn't like Ted that much when he admits he thought their young son Tyler (who suffers from autism) was not intelligent. I just hard cringed at that line. 

 

Never Too Late for Love by Mary Kay McComas (2 stars)-This is also a contemporary romance. MJ is hell-bent on selling her mother's home and then comes to find her ghost and the ghosts of her two aunts who have passed on. The story had too much going on, and McComas trying to throw a love story in there didn't help either. I just didn't think that the story-line was remotely interesting since it seemed like all MJ was talk. And I didn't buy her romance with the guy next door (Ryan) he was beige as hell. The ending just fell flat. I wish the anthology had wrapped on a stronger note. 

 

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text 2018-10-14 21:16
Reading progress update: I've read 50%.
The Other Side - J.D. Robb,Patricia Gaffney,Mary Blayney,Ruth Ryan Langan

Yikes. If I wasn't reading this for a square I would totally DNF it.

 

So far only one story is really tied together with a ghost, Eve Dallas's "Possession in Death" (In Death #31.5). it initially is okay with Eve and Roarke having a BBQ at their home with Eve's fellow cops and friends. She is still feeling awful after closing the case on two thrill killers from the last book (FYI, I forgot how much I loathed that book). Eve gets a call and goes out and finds a woman dying after being stabbed, someone though Eve invites her into herself and is able to see the newly dead. It works mostly, and I did love that Roarke this time was very much about doing what he could to get Eve back to herself. 

 

"The Other Side of the Coin" by Mary Blayney has the Earl and Countess of Fellsborough switching bodies. I know that many people who have read these anthologies know that Blayney also has the whole magical coin thing going on. This was pretty interesting and I loved the resolution. No ghosts though.

 

I started "Dancing Ghost" by Patricia Gaffney and so far am not a fan. Reading two people sending letters back and forth to each other is boring me to tears. At least this one is about ghost hunters it seems operating in the 1800s. 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-10-13 03:56
What Lies Between
What Lies Between - B.N. Toler

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, visit:


What Lies Between is book 2 of B.N. Toler’s Where One Goes series; one that was most anticipated by many of us who loved book 1, Where One Goes. It was one of my favorite reads of 2015 and a 5 stars at that. B.N. Toler was a new to me author and she blew my mind with her storytelling. I was pretty sad that there won’t be a sequel to the story when it felt like it needed a one badly. In that sense, this is a very lovely surprise that I didn’t expect to see but was extremely happy nonetheless to see it becoming a reality. 

As usual with my reviews, I’ll begin with a bit of backstory. Where One Goes is narrated from multiple first POVs of the main protagonists; 3 of them. But it begins with Charlotte, our h, trying to help out one last soul before she became of them. Charlotte had a lovely childhood until a few years ago when a tragic accident that changed everything. One moment of impulsive decision took the life of her elder brother Axel and left her badly injured. As she was recovering from her near fatal injury, Charlotte found out the most astonishing thing that had ever happened to her!  She could see spirits; souls in limbo that needed help in crossing over. Since she wasn’t used to it, Charlotte needed help alongside the love and support of her parents in gradually becoming used to with her new ‘gift’. However, her strictly religious parents couldn’t connect with her ‘issues’, thinking she’s become mentally unstable and their relationship deteriorated to a point that she was told simply to leave. Just go away , was all she got. Ever since then Charlotte has been on her own, trying to eke out a life herself and doing what she was meant to be doing; helping out souls that needed her help.

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text 2018-10-08 19:31
Reading progress update: I've read 1%.
The Other Side - J.D. Robb,Patricia Gaffney,Mary Blayney,Ruth Ryan Langan

Hold.

 

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