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review 2018-04-20 18:30
SHOCK Anthology edited by Joe Pruett
SHOCK Anthology - Joe Pruitt

 

SHOCK Anthology is a collection of short stories told via comics. Being a lover of short stories, and taking into consideration that super cool cover, how could I resist? As with any anthology, some of the stories worked for me and some did not. One thing I learned was that I needed to go through this volume slowly, otherwise moving from comic to comic, each being totally different in writing and artwork styles, was too jarring.

 

That said, these are the tales that stood out for me:

 

THE LAST DANCE WITH YOU: was a beautifully told story and even though the clues were there, I didn't catch on to where the story was going until we arrived.

 

DUMB BITCH: Don't you touch that dog!

 

ISTANBUL: I loved this one because the art work was gorgeous and evocative, even with no words.

 

THE DEAD CITY AWOKE: This tale was super short and had few words, but the art was simply breathtaking. (Probably my favorite graphics in this collection.)

 

LIVE OR DIE: A spooky story taking place in the middle of a war battle.

 

DEVOLUTION: I loved this dystopian tale of caution even if it was a bit implausible. I see seeds of this in our day to day living right now and I often wonder where it's going to end up. DEVOLUTION presents its own ideas as to how things will turn out.

 

MOMENTS: With tongue firmly in cheek, this tale about social media and how far it could, (will?), go was hilarious and disturbing all at once. With so many people paying way too much attention to their online lives and so little to their actual lives, I thought this tale was a fun and unsettling way to look at what the future might bring.

 

Overall, I enjoyed the concept of this book and the book itself. With lots of variety and something for everyone, I recommend this fun volume to fans of short stories,comics and graphic novels!

 

*Thanks to NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. This is it.*

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review 2018-03-22 22:00
THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP edited by Ellen Datlow
The Devil and the Deep - Ellen Datlow

An anthology built around the theme of the ocean? How could I say no to that? Not all of the stories resonated with me, but many did. And the ones that did- resonated deeply.

 

FODDER'S JIG by Lee Thomas. Sea monsters, a gay couple and a gold-digging relative. Every time I thought this tale was nothing special, something special happened. I need to read more Lee Thomas!

 

WHAT MY MOTHER LEFT ME by Alyssa Wong blew me away. Imaginative and bold, I already purchased another story from this author. This was my favorite tale in the book.

 

SISTER, DEAREST SISTER, LET ME SHOW YOU TO THE SEA by Seanan McGuire. I always wanted a sister. Now, I know I was better off alone.

 

SHIT HAPPENS by Michael Marshall Smith. I laughed my butt off. Then I became nauseated and then I laughed some more. This is one of the grossest and funniest stories I've ever read.

 

HE SINGS OF SALT AND WORMWOOD by Brian Hodge. Even though they weren't the main crux of the story, I never knew ship-worms existed and now I may never go into the ocean again.

 

A SHIP OF THE SOUTH WIND by Bradley Denton. This one wasn't about the sea as we know it, but instead, a sea that dried up long ago. It also features the coolest ship I've ever read about.

 

With a few more notable stories by Christopher Golden and Steve Rasnic Tem, I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology and can honestly say that I highly recommend it!

 

You can get your copy here: THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP

 

*A big thank you to Marion Schwaner at Night Shade Books for the free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2018-02-23 18:45
Corpse Cold: New American Folklore by John Brhel and Joseph Sullivan
Corpse Cold: New American Folklore - Chad Wehrle,John Brhel,Joseph T. Sullivan

 CORPSE COLD: NEW AMERICAN FOLKLORE is a nice volume of tales which also includes outstanding illustrations. Just look at that impressive cover to get an idea of the drawings within.

 

The stories, however, didn't entirely float my boat. While well written for the most part, they are lacking that certain punch that I enjoy in short tales. This is just my personal view and for someone that hasn't read the hundreds of horror stories that I have? This may seem like the best collection of stories EVER.

 

My favorite was IT THAT DECAYS. If you weren't afraid of the dentist before, you will be now!

 

AUTOPLAY ON: This was a fun little tale featuring a You Tube channel that was left on all night. (I guess it's best not to do that?)

 

MOSS LAKE ISLAND was a neat story that took a weird turn about a third of the way in. It gave me the creeps much like IT THAT DECAYS. I like the creeps.

 

FRIENDSHIP: BURIED AND DEAD. This tale had a cool concept for a theme park. I would like to go there!

 

A CASKET FOR MY MOTHER cracked me up, especially since this book was funded in much the same way as the main character wants to fund the purchase of a casket for his mom. (I'm not sure it was meant to be funny, but hey, I'm a sick person-just look at the stuff I read!

 

A quick word about the illustrations? (Okay, two words.) They're fabulous!

CORPSE COLD would be a perfect introduction into the world of dark fiction for an adult who is not that familiar with or well-read in the genre. Perhaps someone who has participated in a round of campfire storytelling and wants more? Seasoned horror readers, like myself, prefer that extra punch to the gut and a tad more blood/gore as well.

 

Recommended for those new(er) to horror fiction and dark tales!

 

*I received an e-copy of this book free in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2018-02-09 15:34
All the Names They Used For God by Anjali Sachdeva
All the Names They Used for God: Stories - Anjali Sachdeva

ALL THE NAMES THEY USED FOR GOD is a collection of short literary fiction stories, the last two of which were absolutely brilliant.

 

The tales in this book are all over the place, but I think it's all the different facets of humanity that link them all together. No two stories here are even remotely alike and I enjoyed that diversity.

 

Among my favorites were:

 

LOGGING LAKE which involved a strange happening at an ill advised campsite.

 

ALL THE NAMES THEY USED FOR GOD which was a heartbreaking story of two young girls who were kidnapped and forever changed by it.

 

ROBERT GREENMAN AND THE MERMAID: Once we glimpse something fantastic,(in the true sense of the word), it is very difficult to let it go.

 

MANUS was probably my favorite story here. After so many tales involving ordinary life, here's one that is totally out of left field. Gripping, poignant, and so creative-I'll never look at a human hand in the same way again.

 

And finally, PLEIADES: I don't even know what to say about this story. It's powerful, beautifully written and well told. I doubt anyone could read it and remain unmoved.

 

I liked the tales in this collection, but until the last two I didn't feel that this volume was anything special. MANUS and PLEIADES elevated this book to something really special in my eyes, and I highly recommend this book to fans of literary and speculative fiction.

 

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

 

**Also, thanks to my fellow book blogger Cody for turning me on to this collection. You can find his excellent reviews here: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/56352820-cody-codysbookshelf **

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review 2018-01-28 15:45
Dark Screams: Volume Nine
Dark Screams: Volume Nine - Kelley Armstrong,Richard Chizmar,Stewart O'Nan,Brian James Freeman,Peter Straub

DARK SCREAMS: VOLUME NINE was a ton of fun! I was most especially impressed with the last entry TORN by Lee Thomas.

 

I'm not even going to get into what TORN was about because I think it should be related exactly as the author intended. I will say that even though this is a longer story than I usually care for in an anthology, it kept me riveted, it was original and I LOVED it!

 

THE DEAD YEARS by Taylor Grant was another original entry and this one had a science fiction bent to it that I enjoyed. I would love to see this idea expanded to a full length novel.

 

SUMMER OF 07 by Stewart O'Nan. A super short story that reminded me of Ted Bundy.

 

THE BLACKOUT by Jonathan Moore was an unsettling tale mostly set at the morgue.

 

INVITATION TO THE GAME by Kelly Armstrong. This was another tale that had a science fiction bent to it, in my view. It's about a corporation that controls, (or attempts to control?) all aspects of its employees lives. When they send you an invitation, it is unwise to decline.

 

Lastly, there was a story from Peter Straub: VARIATIONS ON A THEME FROM SEINFELD. I admit that the reason I requested an ARC of this book was due to Straub. I have such love for him and for Seinfeld, for that matter, but this story didn't do much for me.

 

Overall, I had fun with this volume, (most especially the story TORN!), and I recommend it to dark fiction and science fiction lovers everywhere!

 

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

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