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Search tags: short-story-anthologies-collections-read
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review 2017-07-30 14:35
For Those Who Dream Monsters by Anna Taborska
For Those Who Dream Monsters - Anna Taborska,Steve Upham,Charles Black,Reggie Oliver,Reggie Oliver

For Those Who Dream Monsters is an excellent collection of well written short stories. Not all of them are horror, but I thought that almost all of them were good.

 

A lot of Polish history comes through in these tales, with actual history making an appearance as well as a few myths from Polish culture.

 

There were even some laughs, such as in DIRTY DYBBUK, in which a virtuous young girl is invaded by the spirit of her horny aunt. Most of this collection is on the dark side however, such as the stories LITTLE PIG and THE GIRL IN THE BLUE COAT-tales about the cold inhumanity of war. I also enjoyed SCHRODINGER'S HUMAN and UNDERBELLY as they both made me gleefully uncomfortable.

 

A widely varied collection of marvelous stories from a new to me author is like finding a nugget when sifting for gold. It makes me excited for the future. Hopefully, Anna Taborska is working on something meatier that we can all sink our teeth into!

 

Highly recommended!

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review 2017-07-18 14:10
Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories
Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories - Gary Gianni,Gary Gianni

Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories was a real treat! I knew nothing about what to expect from this volume, (knowing nothing about the Hellboy series, in which these comics were originally released), so I went in with no preconceptions. I was seriously impressed. Here's why:

 

First, I LOVED the stories! The first 2/3 of this are different comics featuring a movie director named St. Lawrence, (who looks a lot like Vincent Price, BTW, and who you would think belonged in the 30's expect for the occasional glimpse of technology), and his friend Benedict a member of the Corpus Monstrum guild. Benedict is an immortal knight and always wears his knight helmet and a tuxedo. (I need to learn more about the background of this character because he was a blast to read about.) Together they fend off plagues of falling skulls, and other monstrous creatures.

 

 

 

 

Second, the last third of the book contains illustrated classic stories by the likes of Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, and William Hope Hodgson. I LOVED these! When reading these short stories, I couldn't help but notice how the first 2/3 of the book carried the exact same pulpy, adventure feel that these classic stories originally created. I think Gianni did a beautiful job of carrying on that feel in his comics and in his illustrations of these pulp shorts. In a way, I feel like these were his way of paying tribute to what came before, while also making them his own.

 

Again, I went into this with no preconceptions. I came away with much admiration and respect. I'm going to eventually read the Hellboy comics and I'm definitely going to search out Mr. Gianni and see what else he has on offer, because whatever it is, I'm in!

 

Highly recommended, especially to fans of the classic pulp short stories and to fans of incredible artwork.

 

You can get your copy here: Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories

 

*Thank you to Edelweiss and to Dark Horse Comics for the e-ARC of this volume in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2017-07-11 01:48
Halloween Carnival Volume 1
Halloween Carnival Volume 1 - Lisa Morton,Kevin Lucia,John Little,Brian James Freeman,Robert R. McCammon

 

Halloween Carnival Volume 1 is a tasty treat for horror lovers everywhere!

 

First off, I have to mention the opening story, Robert McCammon's Strange Candy. I'm a huge McCammon fan and this story was originally found in the FANTASTIC collection Blue World. Poignant and sweet this tale will always remain one of my favorites.

 

With that out of the way, the story that impressed me the most here was Kevin Lucia's The Rage of Achilles, or When Mockingbirds Sing. What started out to be a story of the difficulties of parenting a special needs child turned into a story of such bittersweet pain and love, I thought I heard my heart crack. Beautifully written with prose that cuts straight through your chest, this was the star of Volume 1.

 

La Hacienda de los Muertos by Lisa Morton was a neatly wrapped up tale about shooting a movie in Mexico. And maybe a ghost?

 

John Little can always be counted on to deliver and that he does with Demon Air. 

 

 Lastly, Mark Allen Gunnells' #Makehalloweenscaryagain was my first read of this author's work. While I generally don't care for hashtag anything, and even though I partially guessed how this story would end, I still enjoyed the journey and I look forward to reading more from Gunnells in the future.

 

Other than Strange Candy, I am not sure if these other stories have been published elsewhere previously. If so, I haven't come across them. I enjoyed the fact that these tales were mostly gore free, quiet horror since that's the type I prefer these days.

 

If quiet but powerful horror is your thing, I highly recommend this collection-especially for your Halloween reading pleasure!

 

You can pre-order your copy here: Halloween Carnival Volume 1

 

*Thanks so much to Hydra and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. This is it!*

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review 2017-07-04 16:19
Dark Screams: Volume Seven
Dark Screams: Volume Seven - Brian Hodge,Bill Schweigart,Richard Chizmar,Brian James Freeman,Robert R. McCammon

The Dark Screams series comes along with this, Volume Seven, and continues to be one of the most solid anthology series' out there. 

 

Going into this, I fully expected the Robert McCammon story to be my favorite, as he's one of my favorite authors and never fails to satisfy my story urge. However, I have to hand it to James Renner because his story A MONSTER COMES TO ASHDOWN FOREST (IN WHICH CHRISTOPHER ROBIN SAYS GOODBYE) not only knocked the ball out of the park, it knocked it out of town! To see the Pooh stories turned into dark fiction pleased me to no end! Five FAT stars!

 

That said, I did love McCammon's Lizardman. In a way this story reminded me of that TV show I've seen previews of-The Swamp People? But then the tale took a strange twist and landed somewhere totally different. 4 stars!

 

 

WEST OF MATAMOROS, NORTH OF HELL by Brian Hodge was a strange tale where mythology and real life blended into a torture chamber of sorts. Never pray to the skeleton saint. 4*

 

I enjoyed the rest of the stories as well, just as not as much as these 3-and these 3 alone are well worth the price of admission! Highly recommended!

 

You can pre-order your copy here: Dark Screams: Volume Seven

 

 

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

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review 2017-06-09 13:45
Dis Mem Ber by Joyce Carol Oates
DIS MEM BER and Other Stories of Mystery and Suspense - Joyce Carol Oates

Dis Mem Ber is an excellent collection of stories previously published elsewhere. The only threads they have in common is that they are all from a woman's point of view, (except for WELCOME TO FRIENDLY SKIES!), and they are all unsettling.

 

My favorite had to be the first story, DISMEMBER, in which a young girl narrowly escapes what could have been a nasty end.

 

HEARTBREAK was the story of two sisters, one beautiful and the other, not so much. Sometimes jealousy can get out of hand, before we even realize we are jealous.

 

I also enjoyed BLUE HERON quite a bit. This is the story of a widow dealing with her grief while trying to avoid her scummy brother-in-law who wants her to sell her lake-house.

 

Lastly, WELCOME TO FRIENDLY SKIES! had to be one of the funniest stories I've read in years. I'm not going to say anything further about it, as I think it's best to go into it cold.

 

Overall, this was a satisfying collection of stories from one of the masters of American short fiction. Highly recommended!

 

You can get your copy here: DIS MEM BER and Other Stories of Mystery and Suspense

 

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

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