Here's a haunted house tale where the house itself is a major player -- in addition to the specter or two stirring within its walls. James and his cousin Nathan are in search of treasure, but their relationship is strained at best, and James is having difficulty believing what Nathan tells him about the house and its history. As a reader, I had my doubts about the reliability of both characters, which served to amp up the conflict and make for an enjoyable read.
If Rod Serling had ended each of those good ol' Twilight Zone episodes with scriptures from the Good Book instead of poignant platitudes, the stories collected herein would have fit perfectly. But these tales go far beyond being reminiscent of that classic series; Setzer's stories stand on their own, and they stand apart. Each one pulls the reader in unawares with realistic dialogue and genuine characters, and by the time it's clear something is amiss (with the appearance of a crazy old lady, or time travel, or doppelgangers, or angels, or demons, or plant monsters), we're so invested in these fictional people that we've got to find out what happens next. That's the hallmark of good, old-fashioned storytelling. I had difficulty following just a couple of the stories (probably because they were sequels to tales from the first volume: Zero Hour: Stories of Spiritual Suspense), but my favorite of the bunch has to be "Zap Zachary Returns." It has the flavor of Galaxy Quest to it and could easily be expanded into a very humorous SF serial.
This children's book would make a perfect gift for an older sibling of a new baby. It's normal for the first child to feel out of place when the new edition (addition) arrives, and it can seem like Mom is grumping all the time. But she's not really angry as much as she's sleep-deprived; try explaining that to a 5-year-old, though. So that's where this book comes in, and it does the job nicely. I have to admit, when I saw the cover, I thought the story was going to be an introduction for children to the hazards of PMS. (Seriously, I used to think my mom was going to tear me limb from limb at least one week out of every month.) Maybe that could be the topic of Sherry's next book...
"Revenge gone horribly wrong" -- indeed! This short tale is a good reminder that by seeking vengeance we hurt only ourselves. Well-written with clearly defined characters and a style of prose perfectly suited to the time period, "Sixpence and Rye" will haunt your thoughts long after you've turned off your eReader for the night.
I don't usually read much magical fantasy, but I enjoyed these three tales, each involving witches (or Wycka) in some way. The first story, "The Standing Stones of Erelong," is a heart-warming tale of love, loss, and resurrection. The last story, "Slieau Whallian" (no idea how to pronounce that one), involves a young female protagonist with the Sight -- and perhaps more powers bubbling beneath the surface she has only begun to fathom. My favorite of the three is the longest, sandwiched right in the middle: "A Sorcerous Mist". Quirk and McBride walk onstage fully formed as characters you want to get to know; the story is well-structured and multilayered; and in the end, it's a very satisfying read.
This installment of the Otrim Saga introduces us to Paeter's backstory and shows us how he came to ride with Otrim and Terell (who also need their own origin episodes at some point). I mentioned in another review that there's a disconnect between Otrim the Barbarian and Otrim the Bible-thumper, but this episode brings that conflict front and cent as the characters discuss being both peace-crafters and warriors. I would like to see Otrim and Paeter struggle more with their bloodletting in future episodes; separating a man's head from his shoulders should not come easily to them, considering their faith/upbringing. "Promise" is another well-written chapter in a series I'm enjoying, and I can't wait to read what happens next to these engaging characters.
This short story (which evolved into a novel forthcoming from the author) sets the stage for an epic battle to come. Gillen, the gargoyle protagonist, is a likable creature, and his interactions with the human girl Britt are enjoyable and believable. Some of the interior monologue lines threw me because they weren't italicized, but I thoroughly enjoyed this tale overall. To hell with the devils!
The power of a mother's love (be she human or half-elven) comes through loud and clear in this novella. I enjoyed the fantasy aspects -- mindspeak, in particular, as well as the transferring/teleporting -- and the humor throughout was just great. The ending definitely leaves more of the story to be told, and as this novella takes place in a much larger world with its own history, that makes sense. I'm sure there will be many more half-elven tales published in the near future!
Kewin is a master at imbuing the fantastic with real characters the reader cares about -- be they flesh and blood or phantasmal. My favorite tale in this trio would have to be "Her Pale Smile" with its humorous yet heartwarming tone, but all three are fine reads and definitely worth the price of admission...into the afterlife.
These are some of the best horror stories I've read in a while. Mr. Cone has a classic style to his prose that carries you along effortlessly. Then he socks you in the gut when you least expect it. I found myself engrossed, startled, and chilled by these well-written tales. Honestly, I can't pick a favorite—nor one that I didn't enjoy. The ending of "The Sound of Rain" in particular surprised me, and I like being surprised; my mouth may have hung open at the climax. A highly recommended collection of stories sure to linger in your mind long after you power down your Kindle for the night.
A well-wrought collection of dark, disturbing tales may be found herein. I've read a few of King's stories in the past, but never so many all at once. And once I started, I couldn't stop. They left me giddy with mixed feelings of horror and wonder -- and there were even a few chuckles along the way. My favorites in Volume 1 were "The God of Blood and Bone," "What We Leave Behind" (holy crap!), and "What Doesn't Kill You." Highly recommended.
King has done it again. This second volume of short stories is just as compelling as her first. While these tales are more post-apocalyptic than occult in nature, readers can expect more of the same well-written prose, engaging characters, and tales that leave you staring at your Kindle with horror and wonder in equal measure. My favorites from Volume 2: "Nor Any Drop to Drink," "No Apples for Mother," and "Gifted" (what an ending!). Highly recommended. Looking forward to diving into Volume 3.
Not as much humor to be found in this collection, compared to the first two, but many enjoyable tales nevertheless. My favorites: "Sweetie" (the cover story), the otherworldly "Seeing Red," the violent "Getting Shot in the Face Still Stings," and the gruesome "You Don't Want What I Get." Like King, I enjoy paranormal crime stories, and she excels at the clipped, hardboiled style. I missed the author notes preceding each story in this volume, but I was glad to find them at the end -- and in greater depth than the first two volumes.