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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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review 2018-01-17 15:39
Hardened Hearts edited by Eddie Generous
Hardened Hearts - Eddie Generous,Somer Canon,Calvin Demmer,Gwendolyn Kiste,Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi,Meg Elison,Theresa Braun,Laura Blackwell,John Boden,Kathleen W. Deady,James R. Newman


HARDENED HEARTS contains dark fiction stories connected by the theme of love-all kinds of love. This book's strength is in its diversity. It covers so many facets of the subject, there's something here for everyone.


The tales that stood out for me were:


Calvin Demmer's story WHAT IS LOVE. This story knocked my socks off and I will be tracking down more from this author!


THE HEART OF THE ORCHARD by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi. This read almost like a warped fairy tale, and as we all know, fairy tales can often be quite grim.


PINK BALLOON by Tom Deady was my favorite story in the book. It totally broke my heart.


HEIRLOOM by Theresa Braun. I love tales about mirrors and this was an excellent example of why. This was my first experience with Theresa Braun's work and we are off to a good start.


THE RECLUSE by John Boden. Short and sweet, Boden always impresses me.


ClASS OF 2000 by Robert Dean. I guess the moral of this tale is not to mess with someone that can throw a baseball at 100 mph. It seems like common sense to me.


BURNING SAMANTHA by Scott Hallum. I had never previously heard of Scott, but he's on my radar now.


50 WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR MONSTER LOVER by Gwendolyn Kiste. Here is another author that I haven't had any experience with but whose story was impressive.


Lastly, IT'S MY PARTY AND I'LL CRY IF I WANT TO by J.L. Knight. A heartbreaking story about love and loss. Poignant and dark all at the same time.



9 of the 17 tales resonated deeply with me and that's above average, so I rounded up my original rating from 3 to 4 stars. I have some new authors to follow and I think they are offering up original work which only improves the genre. Bravo!


Recommended for fans of diverse dark fiction!


*Thanks to John Boden for providing an e-ARC of this anthology in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*


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review 2017-12-13 18:45
The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror by William Meikle
The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror - William Meikle


Picture the scene: Victorian London. A smoky club. A group of literary icons. The price to join this group? A story of the supernatural. The scene is now set.


Imagine the tales these writers of old would share. Stoker, Dickens, Wells, James, and Stevenson, among others. What price would you pay to sit at that table? Unfortunately, the opportunity to sit there in person is gone, but thanks to William Meikle, you CAN now be privy to these stories and anything else these authors have to say. The entrance fee for you? Quite reasonable!


The standout tales for me were:


WEE DAVIE MAKES A FRIEND (in the style of) Robert Louis Stevenson. This was the first story and my favorite of the collection. Young Davie is an unwell boy and is often bedridden. The gift of a new toy changes his life.


ONCE A JACKASS (in the style of) Mark Twain. A Mississippi steamship captain makes a terrible mistake and unfortunately, all of the passengers and crew pay the price.


THE SCRIMSHAW SET (in the style of Henry James) I adored this tale of a haunted (?) chess set. This was my second favorite tale in this collection and I've just read that the author is planning to write more about this set in the future. I can't wait!


TO THE MOON AND BEYOND (in the style of Jules Verne) A super cool story about a man, his rocket and a trip to the moon. What was found there and what did he bring back with him? You'll have to read this to find out!


BORN OF ETHER (in the style of Helena Blavatsky) A man embarks upon a supernatural journey to freedom.


I was not familiar with a few of the authors here, Helena Blavatsky included, but I think the author did a stellar job of emulating their writing styles. These tales were entertaining, well written and I loved the framework within which they were presented.


For these reasons, I highly recommend this gem of a collection!


You can get your copy here, (your price of admission, rather than a story):

The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror


*Thanks to Crystal Lake Publishing and the author for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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