Funny Horror

Review of Funny Horror

Review of Funny Horror edited by Alex Shvartsman

In the interests of full disclosure, I was sent a pre-release copy of this book by the publisher for beta reading purposes. Funny Horror was a delightful success.

What is my definition of success, you may ask?

(You can skip this part if you have read any of my previous short story compilation reviews.)

To me, a short story compilation is akin to one of those giant bags of mixed candy you buy for Halloween. Some of what you get are your favorite kind, some are really good (just not your favorites), some are OK (but still candy, so pretty darn good), and some are awful because you can’t stand the flavor but you know other people love them anyway. And occasionally it includes one or two kinds of candy even the kids won’t touch.

With that in mind, I consider any short story collection to be a success if at least 3 or 4 stories fall into the first two categories of favorite or really good, and one (or better, none) fall into the even the kids won’t touch it category.

Funny Horror was a delightful success. Fifteen of the 18 stories were either favorites or really good. Seven were favorites. I think this is a record for me.

None of the stories were of the even the kids won’t touch it variety, and only two stories merited the “I can’t stand the flavor” pile.

My favorite stories were “Howl!” by Jody Lynn Nye, “Something Virtual This Way Comes” by Laura Resnick, “No Children, No Pets” by Esther Friesner, “43 Responses to ‘In Memory of Dr. Alexandra Nako’” by Barbara A. Barnett, “Happily and Righteously” by Larry Hodges, “The Story of Emily and Control” by Scott Alexander, and “Final Corrections” by M. Bennardo.

Highly recommended. If you need a laugh, go buy this book.

 

I give it 5 stars.

 

Short thoughts on each story:

Read moreReview of Funny Horror

Funny Horror
Edited by Alex Shvartsman

The Flame and the Arrow

Review of The Flame and the Arrow

Review of The Flame and the Arrow by Emigh Cannaday

In the interests of full disclosure, I was sent a copy of this book by the author for the possibility of a review. All my reviews, good, bad, or indifferent, are based on my own opinion and from my personal viewpoint. They are also spoiler free.

The fantasy world which is revealed in The Flame and the Arrow bit by bit is interesting, intriguing, and unique. I enjoyed the well-paced unveiling of the varied people, places, and things. The overall story arc was compelling enough to keep me reading and the descriptions of each new location were extremely well done.

I would have given the book 4 stars if it did not also have what I can only describe as a split personality. Periodically there would be a sex scene, and these scenes just clashed with the rest of the book. Don’t misunderstand. I am an admirer of well-written sex scenes which flow naturally into the story. These just…didn’t. They felt forced, against character, and as if they had something to prove.

They often seemed at odds with the character’s personality. In addition, the petty jealousies which generally sprang up in the story after these scenes felt similarly unneeded. Thankfully these comprised only a small percentage of the overall story.

I will be looking for the next book in the series to find what happens. And that is the ultimate test of success for any storyteller – leaving the reader wanting to know what happens next.

I give it 3 stars.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Flame-Arrow-Fantasy-Paranormal-Romance-ebook/dp/B004BSGKH4

The Flame and the Arrow
Emigh Cannaday

Review of Hekate’s Chalice

Review of Hekate’s Chalice

Review of Hekate’s Chalice by Teagan Kearney

In the interests of full disclosure, I was sent a copy of this book by the author for the possibility of a review. All my reviews, good, bad, or indifferent, are based on my own opinion and from my personal viewpoint. They are also spoiler free.

Be aware that this book is a novella of only 91 pages.

Hekate’s Chalice was a delightful romp of an adventure.

I’m a sucker for a good PI story. When you create a private investigation office staffed by a variety of socially challenged individuals, none of whom like to follow orders, the plan, or rules in general, and then in addition you set it in a new urban fantasy environment where each team member has unique abilities and, of course, secrets, it just gets better.

The action started early and kept moving at a rapid clip. I appreciated that events were allowed to unfold without worrying that the reader wouldn’t be able to keep up, and without foreshadowing every twist and turn. There were a few bumps and bobbles in the story and the writing along the way but the overall story-telling made these insignificant to my enjoyment of the story itself.

I arrived at the conclusion of the story with a feeling of satisfaction, of time well spent, and of anticipation for the next story.

The Adept Solutions series will definitely be on my watch list.

I give it 4 stars.

(https://www.amazon.com/Hekates-Chalice-Investigators-Magickally-Challenged-ebook/dp/B01KGSNBCO

Hekate’s Chalice
Teagan Kearney

Shadowed Souls

Review of Shadowed Souls

Review of Shadowed Souls edited by Jim Butcher and Kerrie L. Hughes

All my reviews, good, bad, or indifferent, are based on my own opinion and from my personal viewpoint. They are also spoiler free.

Shadowed Souls did exactly what it was intended to do. It made me consider the difference between light and dark, good and evil, and how the choices are often grey. After I had eagerly experienced the new Molly Carpenter story, and took the time to grok it, I decided to finish the book that evening. The book had other ideas.

Every story in the book is unique. Yet every story equally demanded to be considered, pondered, reflected upon. This took much longer than a single evening.

Most short story collections have a combination of good, great, and just average stories. This one did not. All the stories were exceptional.

Some were so good that I will be buying the first book of the series upon which they were based and the giddiness at finding new series to read is a wonderful feeling.

I highly recommend this book.

 

I give it 5 stars.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Shadowed-Souls-Jim-Butcher/dp/0451474996

 

Shadowed Souls
Edited by Jim Butcher and Kerrie L. Hughes

Sunborn Rising cover

Review of Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall

Review of Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall by Aaron Safronoff

In the interests of full disclosure, I was sent a free copy of this book by the publisher for review purposes. The only thing I promised was an honest review. All of my reviews, good or bad, are based on my personal opinion.

There are NO SPOILERS in this review.

The story started off in typical YA fashion with a rebellious teen and a mystery. Barra, the main character, was intriguing enough to keep me reading. As the story emerged, it became apparent that there were several layers of intertwining stories both in the present and the immediate past, and also extending back over an immense span of time.

As the characters’ individual personalities emerged, so did the realization of the immensity of the world being revealed to us. It was obvious that we were seeing only a portion of a well thought out and complex mythos. The stunning artwork enhanced the minds-eye view of the world built by the text. I was expecting a decent, youngish YA novel. What I got instead was a roller coaster ride of a story in a complex fantasy world with seemingly limitless possibilities for future books.

If you are a fan of fantasy off the beaten path I believe you will enjoy this book.

I give it 4 stars.

https://www.amazon.com/Sunborn-Rising-Beneath-Aaron-Safronoff/dp/1944606009

Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall
Aaron Safronoff