This is a dark comedy novella for grownups that blends the mysterious with the everyday to create an unpredictable but very entertaining story.
The characters are realistic and credible, and varied enough to make their interactions interesting. The story is well written, with enough twists to keep it interesting without becoming unbelievable.
That it can be easily read in less than two hours makes it a great option for busy people who have to fit a good read into the demands of life.
‘Twelve Tales of Christmas’ is a collection of fantasy and contemporary short stories with Christmas themes. Some of the stories are poignant, while others are lighthearted. The stories offer a good variety of themes, settings and characters, and each one delivers its own unique message to ponder.
As with any collection, there were some stories I preferred over others, but I found them all to be enjoyable and interesting at the very least.
This book would make great family or individual reading during December.
This is a fun collection of paranormal stories with a Christmas theme, each one highly original and well-written.
The variety in the collection adds to the reader’s enjoyment by heightening the anticipation, because one never knows what is coming next.
From a magical fruitcake to ghosts to a clowder of talking cats, from mystery to romance, there is something for everyone in this very entertaining anthology.
Sometimes people’s lives cross in uncanny ways. Whether it is by design, destiny or accident, these are events that can change the entire course of someone’s life.
‘The Baby on the Back Porch’ is a short story full of mystery, danger, and surprises. As the story progresses, the author makes really good use of foreboding and dream sequences to build tension and heighten the anticipation of the reader. The characters and premise of the story are believable and relatable, and while it starts off with the appearance of a story that might be romantic, it soon develops into something far more mysterious and compelling.
This s a really well-crafted and enjoyable story that can comfortably be read in less than an hour and leaves the reader pondering the nature of coincidence and the ways in which one’s destiny might be interwoven with others’.
A suspenseful and thought-provoking short story.
‘The Waiting Room’ is a suspenseful short story that builds up slowly to a surprise ending. The author effectively establishes a strong sense of curiosity and anticipation that grows to a profound crescendo as the truth of Gary Simpson’s situtation is revealed.
There were some nice twists in the story development, aided by subtle details that suddenly became relevant as the story progressed. I enjoyed the story and the deep sense of ironic humour with which it is loaded.
This thought-provoking story is easily read and enjoyed in under an hour, which makes it an ideal read for busy readers or a great filler for a lunchtime break.
‘The Waiting Room’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.
Find your copy here.
I thoroughly enjoyed this grim little horror short.
This is an excellent short story. Doyle has done an excellent job of building the suspense and the reader’s awareness of the sinister before making them gasp and recoil as the action heats up.
The characters are all very believable, and will remind the reader of people – or, at least, types of people – they know. Their banter and conversations draw the reader in, building familiarity with the characters so that by the time the story really gets going, the reader has an emotional investment in their wellbeing and fate. This heightens the tension as the story develops, and increases the impact of the climax of the story.
I thoroughly enjoyed this grim little horror short, and have awarded it a Gold Acorn.
Get your copy here.
This is a little gem of a book that is well worth reading.
Having recently read and loved ‘The Book Thief’, I was keen to read this brand new collection of flash stories by Claire Buss. They are very different than her excellent novel, but they are great stories nonetheless.
Each story is a brief vignette of a life, a mind, a heart, a soul. Some of them are lighthearted and entertaining, others are much more sobering. I found ‘Possibility’ to be very poignant, while ‘Once Upon a Time’ turned out to be a very powerful commentary on our society that was further developed in ‘Data Stream’.
I appreciated each of these stories for its own qualities, and for the way it made me think about things other than the demands and worries of a busy day. I enjoy reading short stories when life is hectic, and this book has filled bill perfectly.
This is a little gem of a book that is well worth reading, and as such, it has been awarded a Silver Acorn
A highly original and engaging short read.
‘The Castle’ is a fantasy/scifi short story about Risha, who finds herself vulnerable because of her age and place in society.
This is a story in which the author has created an empowering female lead character for a YA audience, something that we definitely need to see more of at this point in time. Rather than dwelling on her weaknesses, Risha focuses on her strengths and uses them to face the situation in which she finds herself.
The reader is quickly immersed in Risha’s world, becoming an observer and looking over Risha’s shoulder as she transforms from an observer into an actor in the story that unfolds, taking some surprising turns that keep the reader guessing.
Highly original and engaging, this is a great short read that can easily be enjoyed in a lunch break.
Book Squirrel has awarded ‘The Castle’ a Gold Acorn
100 Word Horrors: A collection of brilliant short reads.
A drabble is a piece of writing that is about 100 words in length.
What people often do not realise is that writing something short and making it as effective as something longer is actually really hard to do. The same opportunities to develop plot, characters and ideas in a novel or longer story do not exist in flash, micro fiction, or drabbles.
This book is a collection of drabbles by different authors, all in the genre of horror. The majority of these pieces of short fiction are brilliant; some are less effective, but that is largely a matter of personal preference. The chills, crawling of skin and unexpected twists are delivered with all the skill and craft that these writers use in their other, longer works, but their talent is highlighted in the fact that they can achieve this in so few words.
This book is great for anyone who loves horror, especially for a quick snatched moment of escape during a break or quiet moment. It’s also ideal for anyone new to the genre who wants to “dip their toes in the water” for the first time without committing to a longer read.
A beautifully written fantasy tale.
When I was young, I had a book of Russian folk stories that filled my imagination with vivid colours, magnificent imagery and rich stories that always had a deeper meaning. This was where my lifelong interest in Russian history began.
‘The Kupala Night’ took me right back there, and filled me with the same fascination that I remember feeling all those years ago.
Inspired by Russian folklore, this is the beautifully written fantasy tale of a young woman who carelessly fails to heed her grandmother’s warnings. Unforeseen consequences deliver a clear moral, as exists in every Russian folk tale, before the story finishes with another twist.
It’s a short story that takes less than 30 minutes to read, but the style and beauty of the writing make the reading both satisfying and delightful. Vivid images of the scenes and characters played in my imagination as the story unfolded.
I thoroughly enjoyed this short read, and have awarded it a Gold Acorn
Find it on Amazon.