Book Review: ‘The Ghost of Grym: A Short Story’ by Michelle Connor

This is a short Gothic story full of darkness and foreboding, portraying the worst of human nature as the twists reveal themselves. 

Read in less than half an hour, this well-written story provides an intriguing escape that fits into any busy day.

New Release: ‘The Final Act of Mercy Dove’ by Becky Wright

‘The Final Act of Mercy Dove’ is a new release Victorian Gothic Horror novella.

This is the story of Mercy Dove.

This is a story of secrets.They hide in the wainscoting where the paint flakes, they slip behind the silk wallpaper. They whisper to the Mistress under cover of nightfall. She knows little else; they are her comfort and her curse.

This is a story of corruption. Of the mind, and the flesh. It sits thick in the air, gathering in corners, loitering at keyholes. Adhering to all who visit, it leaves with them, trailing from their coattails.

This is a story of scandal. Infamy, seduction, and lust. It hovers like a murder of crows, circling the grounds waiting for the invited; the unwitting.

Take a seat; the curtain is about to rise…Let us begin at the end.

Readers should note that there is mature content in this book, so it is recommended for adult audiences only.

Where to find your copy: UK Buyers | US Buyers | AU Buyers

Book Review: ‘The Haunting of Rookward House’ by Darcy Coates

This is a suspenseful tale full of foreboding and intense dread, skilfully crafted to build slowly and relentlessly. It is a story of reality vs perception, causing the reader to continually question their own assumptions. 

The story is really well written. Conversations and thoughts allow the reader into the main character’s mind, while his reactions allow them to share his genuine fear and doubt. The imagery is highly sensory, often macabre, with some great Gothic elements combined with the contemporary. Coates’ writing is powerful enough to prompt genuine physical responses in the reader, yet subtle enough to achieve the slow creep of fear that characterises the book. 

This is an excellent psychological horror story, perfect for Halloween or any other day of the year.

Book Review: ‘The Bet’ by K.A. Denver

This is a short but darkly creepy and suspenseful story. The premise is relatable, and the characters and their responses are realistic and engaging. 

The macabre and horror story elements were well crafted, aided by the setting and context of the story. 

If you are looking for an enjoyable story that will both fill and darken your lunch break, this is it. 

Book Review: ‘Thorns‘ by Lucretia Stanhope

Another great read in an excellent paranormal series.

This seventh book in the Elemental Witch Trials series focuses on Rose, Brac’s daughter, take over as the main character, Brac still features prominently in the story, while Gwen and other family members continue to take supporting roles. Once again, the author achieves a natural and smooth progression that enriches the series without losing continuity or cutting off the stories of other family members.

Rose is a formidable character, not afraid to use both her physical and inner strengths to achieve her goals. She is complex and conflicted, which adds a very relatable layer of depth to her story.

As with every other instalment of this excellent series, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Thorns has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Necrozmancy: A Short Horror Story’ by Lucretia Stanhope

A delightfully gory and subversive parody of the classic Wizard of Oz story.

Lucretia Stanhope Necrozmancy

A delightfully gory and subversive parody of the classic Wizard of Oz story, ‘Necrozmancy’ is a short read that can be enjoyed in less than an hour.

The characters are darker and more sinister than in the original tale, and yet I prefer them this way. I always enjoy the opportunity to see how things end up differently when characters take an alternative path, and Stanhope’s reinvention of Dorothy and Toto in particular is magnificent.

This story is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, but lovers of the macabre and horrific will certainly enjoy it.

Acorn Award I Golden
Because it tickled both my funny bone and my dark side, I have awarded it a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Once Upon A Grave’ by William Bove

An enjoyable short read, but I wanted more.

William Bove Once Upon A Grave

 

Set during a period of profound economic depression, the tone of the opening chapters is evocative of the hopelessness and privation experienced by those who endured it, and particularly by the central character who has different, but equally valid, reasons for disenchantment and restlessness. The contrasts between the environments and settings of the different phases of the story are striking, and have a profound effect on the author’s delivery of the story.

I enjoyed reading this story, although there were aspects that I wish the author had developed in more depth. The main character is really the only multidimensional character in the story, which is fine in a short read, but I did want to know and see more of the two other key figures that appeared in the second half of the story, and to understand more of the connections between them all.  I also felt somewhat dissatisfied that the revelations made to the main character in the second phase of the story were delivered by her reading a book to which the reader had no access – and was therefore somewhat glossed over in the narrative. It left this reader feeling like an onlooker, rather than being involved emotionally in the journey of the character.

 

Overall, ‘Once Upon A Grave’ is an enjoyable short read, although less gripping than I generally hope for in paranormal or dark fiction.
Acorn Award III Bronze

 

Book Squirrel has awarded this book a Bronze Acorn.

 

Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘The Dowling House’ by A. Drew

The Dowling House blends some nicely developed Gothic and macabre elements with some moments of pure horror. It is indeed a most satisfying creepy read.

A Drew The Dowling House

A tragic story of possession, grief and despair that crosses the boundaries of generations and spiritual realms, The Dowling House leaves the reader resolved to neither simply dismiss the unknown nor to underestimate the power of evil.

The story is quite well crafted, luring the reader into the presence of evil by appealing to that morbid fascination with the mysteries of spirits and ghosts that is so often a part of human nature. George and Melissa are realistic characters, and even though there were times I really wanted him to toughen up and be more useful, his responses to his experiences were probably how many of us would respond in similar circumstances, so I have had to forgive him for that, especially since he does actually do the right things when it matters.

The Dowling House blends some nicely developed Gothic and macabre elements with some moments of pure horror. It is indeed a most satisfying creepy read.

Acorn Award II Silver

I’ve awarded The Dowling House a Silver Acorn.

Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘The Celtic Curse: Newgrange’ by D.J. Doyle

A gritty read for lovers of dark fiction.

This is a dark, gritty and fatalistic story of ancient beliefs, rituals and powers that grapple for control of the future of the world as we know it. Doyle builds the story masterfully, complete with twists that take the reader’s breath away and a sense of urgency that grows as the action escalates.

The contrasts between the different characters and their personal ethics are really interesting, and serve as a reminder that human nature is flawed and can, when devoted solely to an ideology or even to oneself, be truly evil without any additional help from the spiritual realm.

‘The Celtic Curse: Newgrange’ is a highly original and often macabre tale crafted from strands of legend, religion, ancient culture, sex, superstition, loyalty and friendship.

It does contain adult content and violence, so is suitable for an adult audience. If you like your fiction dark and your endings darker, this book is for you.

Acorn Award I Golden

Book Squirrel has awarded this book a shiny Gold Acorn.

Find it on Amazon.

Dec 15 ~ Featured Book: ‘The Queen’s Viper’ by Lesley Donaldson.

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 15 is ‘The Queen’s Viper’ by Lesley Donaldson. 
Readers will love anti-heroine Viper in this grimdark blend of historical and contemporary fantasy in a fairy tale like no other.

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 15 is ‘The Queen’s Viper’ by Lesley Donaldson.

Lesley Donaldson The Queens Viper

Time heals all wounds. Except hers.
Will immortal Viper overcome the power surging within herself even as Queens of Britain try to control her?

To enhance the life-magic of the people she feeds upon, Viper ensures Tudor Princess Elizabeth becomes Queen of England. The villainous immortal also seeks a Crown Jewel that stirs up her repressed memories. Her quest to find her past throws her into the path of malevolent Annys. Annys entraps Viper for centuries. In modern London, Viper inexplicably escapes. She enlists her Foundling, Mouse, to overcome immortal magic and human power as she seeks revenge upon her nemesis and the descendants of the humans who helped Annys, starting with Queen Elizabeth II.

Readers will love anti-heroine Viper in this grimdark blend of historical and contemporary fantasy in a fairy tale like no other.

‘The Queen’s Viper’ is available at Amazon.