Doorbells at Dusk edited by Evans Light

In the words of the immortal Misfits “Bonfires burning bright. Pumpkin faces in the night. I remember Halloween.” Yes, it the holiday that all Horror lovers and children wait all year for. I finished Doorbells at Dusk a couple of weeks ago but I wanted to review it on Halloween. Many of the stories in this anthology capture the wonder and mysteries that Halloween night holds for kids. I am not by any means saying that this is a anthology  is for children but rather the emotions that you feel as you are reading it.

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Summary: A spooky anthology of horror stories centered around Halloween.

What I liked: The stories for this anthology were well chosen and fit well together. With this anthology I felt the mystery and the spookiness that Halloween held for me as a child. As a Halloween centered anthology that is what I was looking for from this anthology and it delivered. The cover art is beautiful and really portrays the vibe of the stories in the book.  The stories ranged between a 3 and 5 for me.

What I didn’t like: There were only a couple of stories that fell a bit flat for me.

Star Rating: 4.0

My thoughts: I love books that feature Halloween as their main setting. Sometimes as an adult you lose that wonder about Halloween. The magic and the mystery of the entire holiday is slightly lost between the running around for candy and making sure that the kids have their costumes. But when you slow down and read this anthology some of that magic comes back and in your mind you can see yourself as a kid in a costume trick or treating. Walking along sidewalks which for that one night seemed to be magically transformed from the mundane to the creepy.

Big thanks to Corpus Press and A Hook of a Book for sending me a review copy.

Book Blast: New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color

I feel very honored to have been asked to take part in the Book Blast for New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color edited by Nishi Shawl and published by Rebellion Publishing.

New Suns Cover-2‘THERE’S NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN, BUT THERE ARE NEW SUNS,’
PROCLAIMED OCTAVIA E. BUTLER.

            New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color showcases emerging and seasoned writers of many races telling stories filled with shocking delights, powerful visions of the familiar made strange.

Between this book’s covers burn tales of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and their indefinable overlappings. These are authors aware of our many possible pasts and futures, authors freed of stereotypes and clichéd expectations, ready to dazzle you with their daring genius.

Unexpected brilliance shines forth from every page.

TABLE OF CONTENTS – NEW SUNS, ed. Nisi Shawl.

  • Foreword, LeVar Burton
  • The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex, Tobias Buckell
  • Deer Dancer, Kathleen Alcalá
  • The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations, Minsoo Kang
  • Come Home to Atropos, Steven Barnes
  • The Fine Print, Chinelo Onwualu
  • unkind of mercy, Alex Jennings
  • Burn the Ships, Alberto Yáñez
  • The Freedom of the Shifting Sea, Jaymee Goh
  • Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire, E. Lily Yu
  • Blood and Bells, Karin Lowachee
  • Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister, Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • The Shadow We Cast Through Time, Indrapramit Das
  • The Robots of Eden, Anil Menon
  • Dumb House, Andrea Hairston
  • One Easy Trick, Hiromi Goto
  • Harvest, Rebecca Roanhorse
  • Kelsey and the Burdened Breath, Darcie Little Badger
  • Afterword, Nisi Shawl

The beautiful cover was created by Yoshi Yoshitani (http://www.yoshiyoshitani.com/)

 

Her Smile will Untether the Universe By Gwendolyn Kiste

Sometimes you read something that resonates with you so deeply that there aren’t even words that you can put together that will do it justice. You can’t describe the depths that a story or a book can speak to your soul. Her Smile will Untether the Universe will defiantly do that.

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Summary: A collection of stories that will rip your heart out.

What I liked: Kiste’s writing is beautiful. Her use of imagery is exquiste and horrific at the same time. Kiste’s stories are multilayered and speak to you at different levels. There are horrors that Kiste uncovers within yourself with her writing and that is what makes the horror of the short stories so effective. The pacing of each story is perfect and there are no lulls between the stories. This is not a collection that you want to put down. The stories flow seamlessly between each other, complimenting each other perfectly. Kiste, is a magic story teller. World creation in short stories is difficult put Kiste does it so beautifully.

What I didn’t like: There is absolutely nothing about this collection that I did not like.

Star Rating: All the stars

My Thoughts: I’ve read a lot of horror. The most effective horror plays on your fears and your experiences in life. Kiste is able to take these fears and twist them into beautiful stories. As you read them you are pulled by her words into these little universes that she creates. This was a hard review to write. I loved the stories so much but I didn’t want to reveal too much. I want other readers to be pulled into Kiste’s worlds by her words and be moved. This was a time when the words won’t accurately convey the amount of feelings you have while reading. This is one of those times. This review can’t even come close to how much I loved this collection.

Twin Lakes: The Autumn Fires By Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason (Sisters of Slaughter)

I’ve only read one book by two different authors before. Needless to say I didn’t like it. You could see where one author ended and the other began. It wasn’t seamless and it was hard to get through as you could see two different writing styles. However, in our wonderful horror community we have the Sister’s of Slaughter. A twin sister horror writing team who where able to meld two separate voices into one in Twin Lakes: The Autumn Fires.

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Summary:A hitch hiker lands in a bunch of trouble in a small town with secrets.

What I liked: I really enjoyed the story. It almost felt like two stories wrapped in one. The hitch hiker story and the ancestors story. But the sisters writing really draws the two stories together seamlessly. The characters where very well written and three dimensional. As a reader the motivations of each character was clear and crisp. The setting was well written and draws the reader in. The pacing was spot on. There were no parts of the story that dragged at any point or where I felt the pacing was slipping.

What I didn’t like: I would have liked more of a backstory to the ancestors. We got to glimpse into the past but I feel it was like a snack sized bite in a whole world that can be built on.

Star Rating:4 Stars

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. There were supernatural elements, beasties and demons. There were no real love type relationships in the book but the friendships that are peppered throughout the story are heart warming and don’t feel forced. As a reader you want to meet some of the people that are players in this drama that is unfolding before your eyes. This is a story when you start reading it you don’t have a full idea as too the talents of each character. But by the end you are rooting for the good guys and hoping the bad guy losses. I can’t wait to read more from the Sisters’ of slaughter!!!

Black Magic Women: Terrifying Tales by Scary Sisters Edited by Sumiko Saulson

Before working with the Ladies of Horror Fiction I never really thought too deeply about my book shelves. Yes, I have international authors and I wrote a blog post about it. I lumped American writers together. Once we started planning and discussing the Ladies of Horror Fiction some things really came to light for me. I did not have many diverse horror authors. To say I was disappointed with myself is a understatement. LOHF received an author spotlight request from R.J. Joesph. Which lead me to Black Magic Women and a whole new set of writers to read.

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Summary: Anthology of terrifying tales that range from steampunk to zombies

What I liked: If you have read my blog at all you will know that I read a lot of collections and anthologies. I love the mixture of stories. Vampires, werewolves and even a queen bee 🙂 People are neither completely good or completely bad and I think that this collection explores all sides of a woman. The dark side with good intentions. The good side with bad intentions. The duality of people is explored in depth in this anthology. Different subgenera of horror is held in-between the cover and the back..From steampunk to scary pharmacology and even zombies!! I truly enjoyed the ride between the different worlds that these amazing authors have weaved.

What I didn’t like: This is not a reflection on the star rating but the ending of Trisha and Peter WTH!!! I would love to read a full length novel exploring that world and their relationship.

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this anthology. It has opened up a whole new set of authors for me. I love that. What bothers me is that it took me so long to find it. I want to scream how great this was from the roof tops and shove it into people’s hands. I can’t wait to read more from these authors and explore the Mocha Memoirs catalog more!