Book Review: ‘Shypoke’ by Dona Fox

This is a very good story that grows increasingly eerie and discomfiting as the narrative develops. The writing is evocative and rich in imagery, luring the reader into the quite sentimental and old-timey feel of the story before delivering the twists that dramatically change the tone and intent of the narrative. 

The characters are nicely developed, using the familiarity between them to engage the reader in their conversation and interactions and develop some affection for them. This, in turn, enhances the effect of the darkness that creeps into the story and takes control of it. 

‘Shypoke’ delivers a satisfyingly chilling ending to a well-crafted creepy tale. 

Book Review: ‘The Apple Tree Throne’ by Premee Mohamed

When an image on the first page is so beautifully written that it forces the reader to stop and ponder it, one knows they are in for a literary treat. 


‘The Apple Tree Throne’ is one such story: wonderfully evocative and beautifully written, making use of rich images that linger in the mind and invite one’s thoughts back in quiet moments.

The Gothic elements of the story – storms, dreams and apparitions – add another layer of complexity and imagery that provides darker contrast to the often whimsical and sentimental tone of the writing. 

This is an often wistful story that immerses the reader into the experiences of Lieutenant Benjamin Braddock, a returned soldier who has a new life thrust upon him while still trying to deal with the remnants of the old one. Therein lies his challenge: he must reconcile himself with the ghosts of the past in order to move ahead. 

The fruit of war wounds and indelible memories, Braddock’s emotional and mental state is portrayed with gentleness and empathy, so that the reader gains as much understanding of his complex character and his desire for integrity as they do of his struggle to accept things as they are. 

The setting is very English, in an era that, while it feels like the end of the 19th century because electricity is relatively new and wars are still being fought with muskets and swords, is entirely fictional: the monarchy has long been done away with and England has become a republic, although social classes and wealthy people with large estates still exist. 

This is a most enjoyable book. Light and dark are very well balanced, and the overall tone is positive.  It would suit readers of Clasic literature and poetry, and any who enjoy a thought-provoking story that is both well-crafted and entertaining. 

‘The Apple Tree Throne’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Spooktober Reads

Halloween Book Recommendations.

Promo Spooktober 2_edited-1

Book squirrel has a great collection of books for Halloween reading at
Book Squirrel’s Spooktober Reads. 

Ranging from creepy suspense to full-blown horror, these are some of the best Halloween reads around.

Stake Out by Lily Luchesi.

Lily Luchesi Stake Out

YA Paranormal.

In a city overrun with the undead, an ex-cop is given a chance to get revenge.

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Lac Du Mort and Other Stories by Joanne Van Leerdam

Lac Du Mort 6x9

Macabre/horror.

From the macabre to the deeply disturbing, Lac Du Mort and Other Stories delivers eight chilling tales that will please lovers of horror and dark fiction.

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Tunnels by P.J. Blakey-Novis.

Peter Blakey-Novis Tunnels

Horor.

From the author of Embrace the Darkness, Tunnels takes you on six terrifying journeys full of terror and suspense.

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Beyond by Alanah Andrews

Alanah Andrews Beyond

Dark fiction.

The future, ghosts, aliens, surprising twists, murder, love and beyond…

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Truly Unfortunate by C.A. King

C.A. King Truly Unfortunate

Dark Fantasy/Horror.

Which is stronger… the boundaries of reality or the safety on one’s own mind?

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The Dowling House by A Drew

A Drew The Dowling House

Horror/macabre.

An unseen world, where one just might discover the secrets that exist there, may be better off left to rot.

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Of Nightmare Realities by Toneye Eyenot

Toneye Eyenot Of Nightmare Realities

Horror.

Delirium and psychosis are beginning to set in. Are these visions real? Or merely the hallucinatory projections of your sleep-deprived mind?

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Road To Terror by S.K Gregory

SK Gregory Chills 1 Road to Terror

Horror/Suspense.

Aria is running from something she can’t quite remember.

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The Celtic Curse: Banshee by D.J Doyle

D.J. Doyle The Celtic Curse Banshee

Horror/Ghosts/Folklore.

A young gypsy woman is murdered for falling in love with the son of an Irish clan leader. She curses the men responsible and their bloodline.

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Reaper’s Folly by Nikki Landis

Nikki Landis Reapers Folly

Horror/Dark Fantasy.

Anchored in Hell, in the dark Underworld, one tarnished soul has become captive to the Darkness.

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Fear Of The Dark by Mark Woods

Mark Woods Fear of the Dark

Horror.

Sometimes it’s not the dark you should be afraid of… it’s what’s hiding in it.

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The Nightmare by Fiona Hogan

Fiona Hogan The Nightmare

Horror/Gothic

Seven cleverly crafted tales of gothic and contemporary horror to keep you awake at night.

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The Coven Princess by Lily Luchesi

Lily Luchesi The Coven Princess

Horror/Fairy Tale adaptation.

Your blood does not define you.

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Curious Times by Joanne Van Leerdam.

Curious Times eBook

Horror/dark humour.

Friday, the magical black cat with a devilish sense of justice, returns in a second collection of macabre and darkly humorous stories.

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Do Not Open Until Halloween by C.A. King

C.A. King Do Not Open Until Halloween

Dark Fantasy/Horror.

In this young adult fantasy, award-winning author, C.A. King, explores the answer to one of the questions readers have always wanted to ask… Where do fairies come from?

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Flash of Darkness by Toneye Eyenot

Toneye Eyenot Flash of Darkness

Horror.

Five flashes of terror to torment your mind…
Allow Eyenot to drag you through the darkness.
You may never find your way back to the light.

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A Flash of Light by S.K Gregory

S.K. Gregory Chills and Thrills 3

Creepy/Paranormal.

A Chills and Thrills Tale #3

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The Celtic Curse: Newgrange by D.J Doyle

D.J. Doyle The Celtic Curse Newgrange

Horror/Suspense.

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.

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Pieces of Heaven by Nikki Landis

NIkki Landis Pieces of Heaven

Horror/Paranormal.

A Haunted Horror of Visceral Regrets.

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Arachnattack by Mark Woods

Mark Woods Arachnattack

Horror.

What IS Project 26? They called it the summer of spiders…

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Death Comes Calling by Fiona Hogan

Fiona Hogan Death Comes Calling

Gothic horror.

Death comes calling and decides to stay. A selection of dark fiction for lovers of gothic horror.

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Book Review: ‘Warm Shelter: A Ghost Story’ by Rich Hawkins

A powerful, dark short story.

Rich Hawkins Warm ShelterThis is a powerful story of one man’s descent into darkness. The author has drawn the reader into that journey by positioning them to look over Alex’s shoulder to see what he sees, but also by expressing the character’s thoughts and feelings in a really natural and familiar way. It’s a very good story, combining elements of horror, macabre, and suspense to keep the reader in the grip of the rising tension as the story progresses.

Perhaps the most striking quality of the story is the writing itself. It’s lean and precise but, at the same time, incredibly sensory and poetic. Hawkins skilfully causes imagery to flash into the mind of the reader and linger for a moment in such a way that the reader can not only see but also smell and taste those images, until the next scene and the next image takes its place. Hawkins makes great use of suggestion and foreboding to gradually darken the story, allowing the reader time to hypothesise and question before reaching the conclusion of the story. These elements combine to imbue the story with a nightmarish quality that evolves subtly at first and grows stronger as the tension of the story builds.

It’s a short read, but one that has a significant impact on the reader.  Acorn Award I Golden

‘Warm Shelter’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Find your copy here.