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review 2018-02-04 15:28
October by Michael Rowe
October - Michael Rowe

Just look at that gorgeous cover! One would never guess the pain hiding behind it, but it's there. It's there in spades.

 

In a small Canadian town, two awkward teens are just trying to make it through high school. Mikey, a young gay man, and his best friend Wroxy, a loaner and a goth girl, try to support each other as best they can. But Wroxy can't protect Mikey from the jock bullies and it seems no one else can either. After witnessing something in the woods, and then soon after going through the worst experience of his life, Mikey decides he's had enough and takes matters into his own hands. Will he exact his revenge upon the jocks? Can he do it on his own? You'll have to read this novella to find out.

 

As in both ENTER, NIGHT and WILD FELL Michael Rowe's bewitching prose captured my attention and held it tight. His characters are so well developed it's easy to understand their motivations. They are also so human that the reader cannot help but to empathize with them. Then, once Rowe has you in his clutches, he puts those characters through hell and you're just along for the ride.

 

OCTOBER will join Rowe's last two books on my list of favorites. It's beautifully written, evocative, brutal and surprising all at once. I only wish it could have been a little longer.

 

Highly recommended to fans of LGBT and dark , dark fiction!

 

You can find a copy here: October

 

*I bought this e-book with my own hard earned money and this is my honest opinion.*

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review 2018-01-28 17:51
Spicy Quick Read
Hire Me (The Heed Me Novellas Book 1) - ... Hire Me (The Heed Me Novellas Book 1) - Elodie Colt

Hire Me is my first book by Elodie Colt, so I didn't know what to expect.  This is a fairly quick read, perfect for those with limited reading time.  Ms. Colt has delivered a book that is well-written.  The characters are entertaining and lovable.  Samantha is an author.  Matthew is an orchard owner helping Samantha's neighbor with her garden...and his girlfriend is Samantha's neighbor's daughter.  Samantha and Mathew's story is loaded with drama, humor and smoking hot sex.  Hire Me is a fun book to read and I enjoyed it.  I look forward to reading more from Elodie Colt in the future.  Hire Me is book 1 of the Heed Me Series but can be read as a standalone.  This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.

 

I voluntarily read a complimentary copy of this book that I received from Instafreebie.

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review 2018-01-22 19:15
The Conversationalist by Justin Bog
The Conversationalist: Horrorstruck Novella One - Justin Richards

Patrick doesn't seem to have one normal relationship in his entire life. He's a teacher and he deals with his students as necessary, but he and his sister don't get along very well and other than his coworker Margo, there's no one else in his life. So when he goes out on a date with Wendy, I had high hopes for him-but alas. It goes so poorly that Patrick leaves while Wendy's in the ladies room. Why? You'll have to read this novella to find out!

 

As many of you already know, I think that the novella is the perfect size for a horror tale. The length helps keeps the word count down by making every word count. In this story, it took a little while for Patrick's secrets to be revealed-maybe a bit too long. There wasn't a lot of action, but there was a lot of tension and atmosphere and those are the types of dark fiction stories that usually appeal to me the most.

 

Being an avid, experienced reader of horror, I found the denouement to be poignant, but tame. I also found the author's writing style took a little getting to used to. That said, it did grow on me and towards the end I was enjoying it immensely. (Except for the world "yearning." That one appeared a lot for such a short story.)

 

This novella was a dark and intriguing read with a distinct style that I enjoyed!

 

Recommended, especially for those new to dark fiction/horror stories and to those who don't like their horror too bloody!

 

You can grab a copy here: The Conversationalist: Horrorstruck Novella One

 

*Justin Bog was kind enough to send me a paperback of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.* 

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review 2018-01-02 22:30
The Warblers by Amber Fallon
The Warblers - Amber Fallon

 

THE WARBLERS is a well written novella, scoring high in the creepy category!

 

Young Dell is upset over the loss of his dog Ginger, and he feels guilty over the dog's death. If Dell hadn't let Ginger out at night, the warblers wouldn't have gotten her. Since the warblers have taken up residence in the back shed of the family farm, they are a constant threat to the family, especially to Dell's little sister. Something must be done about them and Dell's father makes the call. What are the warblers, exactly? Who is Dell's father calling? You'll have to read this quick novella to find out!

 

I've been meaning to read Amber's work for years now, and finally I've read one. Now I'm sorry I waited so long! The dark atmosphere here is almost palpable and that's exactly what I crave these days-more creep than gore. After carefully setting the scene though, we get our gore and a closer look at the things we've only glimpsed previously. They are well worth the wait!

 

Fun, fast and packing a late punch, I highly recommend this creative novella!

 

I bought this book with my hard earned money and if you want to buy it, you can do so here: THE WARBLERS

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text 2017-12-27 12:30
Char's Horror Corner: Top Ten Novellas of 2017
Spungunion - John Boden
Of Foster Homes and Flies - Chad Lutzke
Mapping the Interior - Stephen Graham Jones
Mystery Road - Kevin Lucia
Wallflower - Chad Lutzke
Just Add Water - Hunter Shea
Hoodoo Harry (Bibliomysteries) - Joe R. Lansdale
Soles - Kay Brandt
Money Back Guarantee - Hunter Shea
Sweet Aswang - Anthony Hains

I ADORE dark fiction novellas. I think that novella length is the perfect form in which to tell a lean and powerful horror story. Every word has to count, anything that isn't important is left out. Because I love them so much, I tend to read a lot of novellas. This year, I decided to give them their own category and so without further ado, here are my top ten of the year. (Please click the book covers below, if you'd like to see my original review.)

 

1Spungunion - John Boden  by John Boden. Spungunion is poignant, powerful and lyrically written at times. In my humble opinion, John Boden, (along with Chad Lutzke, see below), are the REAL DEAL. I will, with pleasure,  continue to read anything they write.

 

 

 

 

2Of Foster Homes and Flies - Chad Lutzke  by Chad Lutzke. Two parents gone and an upcoming spelling bee. It doesn't sound like much, but in the hands of Chad Lutzke it IS much. Almost too much at times. This novella touched me and I related to this poor kid in just about every way. As I said above, I believe Chad is an author to watch.

 

3Mapping the Interior - Stephen Graham Jones   by Stephen Graham Jones. This man is so prolific and thus far, I've only managed to read a few things by him. Mapping the Interior was another poignant story on this list, involving lost parents and life as a Native American in today's harsh world. Much like the two stories above, I'm finding it very difficult to describe why this tale affected me so much, but it did. Perhaps it will affect you in the same way?

 

 

4. Mystery Road - Kevin Lucia  by Kevin Lucia. This is yet another poignant tale about a man caring for his dying father, an area where I have some personal experience. Perhaps, that's why this novella hit me so hard? Or maybe it's just that it was brilliantly and beautifully written. 

 

5. Wallflower - Chad Lutzke  by Chad Lutzke. This is a powerful novella about addiction. Never, ever underestimate the power of drugs or alcohol. People often do just that and end up in dire straits. This was so well written that as I was reading I thought for sure that Chad had personal experience with drug addiction. It turns out he doesn't, but that should give you an idea of how real-feeling this novella was. 

 

6. Just Add Water - Hunter Shea  by Hunter Shea. Amazing sea monkeys! YAY! No poignancy here, (You're probably saying YAY too!), just good clean horror FUN. Simple as that!

 

7. Hoodoo Harry (Bibliomysteries) - Joe R. Lansdaleby the Champion Mojo Storyteller himself: Mr. Joe Lansdale. He's probably the biggest, most well known name on this list. Author of the popular Hap & Leonard series, he writes in all genres and he's always funny as hell. This was a mystery involving Hap & Leonard, and it made me chuckle. Plus, it's a story about a bookmobile-how could I not love that?

 

8. Soles - Kay Brandt  by Kay Brandt. As far as I know this is the only novella written by this author. It had a very cool premise and I think she pulled it off. Ms. Brandt has an interesting career going for herself, but I think if she chose to pursue dark fiction, she might do very well. 

 

9. Money Back Guarantee - Hunter Shea  by Hunter Shea. This is Mr. Shea's second entry on this list. Both of these novellas were part of a series titled "Mail Order Massacres" and were based upon things you could order through the mail via the ads in the backs of comics. Though JUST ADD WATER was my favorite of the three, MONEY BACK GUARANTEE placed a close second. Never mess with a mom who spent some of her hard earned money on a product that nearly killed her kid. Pure F U N!!

 

10. Sweet Aswang - Anthony Hains  by Anthony Hains. I admit to not knowing what an Aswang was when I started this tale. Now that I do know, I wonder why Aswangs are not the subject of more horror stories-because have no doubt: Aswangs are freaking SCARY! I had quite a few novellas ranked 4 stars this year, but I chose to include this one because of the sheer originality and fun of it.  

 

If you've stayed with me this far, I thank and appreciate you! I hope that you'll join me in 2018 as I seek out and hopefully discover more great dark fiction novellas! 

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