Book Review—Sticky Fingers

Sticky Fingers Cover

Every once in a while, you come across a collection of short stories that are, well, magical. And I had the good fortune to experience a great deal of magic in Sticky Fingers by JT Lawrence. First of all, let me just say, I never knew South Africans could be so damn funny. Come to think of it, I’ve only ever met one South African, and she was sweet. And, okay, kind of funny. Moving on.

These stories range from the macabre to the flat-out hilarious. My favorite was “Off the Hinge.” I never realized it was so difficult to secure a pint of milk for your tea. Maybe that’s why I always take mine black. On the other hand, considering the narrator’s predicament, perhaps milk is the least of her worries.

If you like stories that disturb rather than horrify, then get this collection. Each one reminded me of a modern, well-made Twilight Zone episode featuring great actors. And if you’ve ever had a chance to catch the original television episodes, you’ll know I’m setting a high bar.

You can find this review at Goodreads.

Book Description
Diverse, dark-humoured, and deliciously bite-sized, this compelling collection of 12 short stories by JT Lawrence include:

ESCAPE

A suicidal baby knows he was born into the wrong life. He has to get creative to correct the mistake, much to his mother’s horror.

THE ITCH

An intense, uncontrollable, unexplainable itch lands the protagonist in a mental institution.

BRIDGE GATE

In this poignant and charming short story, a daughter yearns to connect with her absent father through the letters they exchange. She’s not put off by his pedantic corrections of her writing, despite the slow reveal that he is less than perfect himself.

THE UNSUSPECTING GOLD-DIGGER

A woman gradually poisons her husband so that she doesn’t have to break his heart.

***

“Each story is masterfully constructed … Humorous, touching, creepy, but most of all entertaining, this collection is superb.” — Tracy (Amazon review)

***

If you’re a fan of Roald Dahl or Gillian Flynn you’ll love these unsettling stories with a twist in the tale.

Where to Buy
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Come As You Are—Girl Who Reads Review

Wow! Take a look at this review of my new collection Come As You Are, which is available in eBook and print at Amazon. Oh, and don’t forget about the Goodreads book giveaway, which ends on September 20, 2017. Details here.

And finally, for those of you who haven’t taken the opportunity, you can download a free copy of Book One of my horror thriller trilogy, Tell Me When I’m Dead. Just visit my homepage for details.

[Come As You Are Cover]

 

A Collection of Macabre Stories: Come As You Are by Steven Ramirez
by MK French

“Come As You Are” is the title novella in this collection of macabre stories. Ivan Stein and his best friend Ollie are bullied in school and often run off the skate park by older kids. When Ivan finds a notebook in an abandoned locker that seems to be the key to power, he takes it despite his misgivings. Unfortunately, the power is demonic in nature and doesn’t discriminate who falls in its path. It’s understandable that Ivan would grab hold of any hope to get past the bullies and survive seventh grade, even if it’s otherworldly. Knowing others’ secrets at first seems rather innocent, but completing the list in the notebook takes on a more dangerous turn, and Ivan’s soul hangs in the balance. The end of the story was a bit of a stretch, and not one I would have predicted when starting the novella, but definitely was vividly done.

To read the rest of this review, please visit Girl Who Reads.

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Book Review—The Angel Maker

[The Angel Maker Cover]For me, a short story is like a stranger on a bus you happen to sit next to. The trip is short, but in that interval, you see that she’s crying—you don’t know why. She may take an urgent call, and you overhear snippets of conversation about a broken relationship, missing money, or a nightmare she once had. Then at the next stop, she gets off and is gone forever.

I enjoyed the stories in this collection because they remind me that suffering is all around us—most of our own making. Bad choices, a desire to be forgiven, a sudden awareness that our world is being torn apart by unknown forces. It’s all here. My favorite was “The War.” I sincerely hope the author will use this as the first chapter in an as-yet-to-be-written kick-ass novel.

If you enjoy the creepy, then grab this book. And be glad you made better choices in your life.

You can find this review at Amazon US.

Book Description
A drunk driver tries to get home. A college coed takes a devastating turn in her life. A lawsuit against the devil? A young woman comes face-to-face with her father’s past. And an invading army. These are the situations that are explored in these spine-tingling stories. Reminiscent of the old Twilight Zone episodes, these stories take ordinary situations and turn them into extraordinary experiences that will leave you unsettled and looking over your shoulder. You might not want to read these in the dark.

Where to Buy
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Come As You Are—Horror Palace Review

I am so excited to share this with you. Here is a review of my new collection Come As You Are, which is available for preorder at Amazon. Enjoy!

And for those of you who haven’t taken the opportunity, you can download a free copy of Book One of my horror thriller trilogy, Tell Me When I’m Dead. Just visit my homepage for details.

[Come As You Are Feature Image]

Come As You Are: A Short Novel and Nine Stories is a collection, featuring a short novel and several short stories. Steven Ramirez is the capable voice behind the supernatural gloom and thrills, and you will quickly learn that this author has a very subtle skill. His target audience for the short novel and I assume the anchor for the collection, is clearly young adults, although Ramirez does not shy away from the graphic details. He is clearly experienced in conjuring up a wonderful story, even if they are all drenched with innocent blood.

The collection starts with Come As You Are, the short novel based on a kid called Ivan. He is in the seventh grade and faces a daily routine of getting bullied with his best friend, Ollie. That is until Ivan comes across an old locker at school, and it holds a strange list. When Ivan starts reading from the list, the seats of power take a dramatic change. All of a sudden the bullies are taken down a step, with fatal consequences. Unfortunately, Ivan does not realize what he unleashed until it is too late.

The stories that follow are a blend of different horror/thriller themes, which I can not really connect other than by being within the horror genre. For example, Nailed It sees a writer waiting for his flight to take off, then gets bothered by a kid sitting next to him. The writer notices the kid is very organized and neat, so he tells him the story of a guy he knew with the same neurotic habit. The guy eventually went over the edge and did things I can not reveal without divulging any spoilers. Then there is A Bone in the Throat, which is based on a scam artist becoming the victim of a crazy surgeon.

All-in-all, the collection features ten powerful and very different stories.

To read the rest of this review, please visit Horror Palace.

Preorder Come As You Are Now!

Book Review—Dark Screams: Volume Six

[Dark Screams Volume Six Cover]When I pick up a new collection of short fiction, I am ever hopeful that I will find at least one gem. Dark Screams: Volume Six is such a collection. Happily, though, in addition to the jewel in the crown I discovered in “The Corpse King” by Tim Curran, I also found two other stories I liked very much: “The Manicure” by Nell Quinn-Gibney and “The Comforting Voice” by Norman Prentiss.

But it’s “The Corpse King” I want to talk about. I tried researching to see if it had been made into a movie but was unable to find anything. Pity. The writing is so visual! I could actually see the two boozy, foul-mouthed resurrectionists Clow and Kierney as they moved through the dank, rat-infested cemeteries of Glasgow, retrieving bodies for the insatiable anatomists who paid them.

If you like horror set in a time when brutality and death were the norms, then grab this collection. Oh, and try not to think about what happens to the human body once it’s in the ground. Yeah.

You can find this review at Amazon US.

Book Description
Stephen King, Lisa Morton, Nell Quinn-Gibney, Norman Prentiss, Joyce Carol Oates, and Tim Curran plunge readers into the dark side in this deeply unsettling short-story collection curated by legendary horror editors Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar.

THE OLD DUDE’S TICKER by Stephen King
Richard Drogan has been spooked ever since he came back from Nam, but he’s no head case, dig? He just knows the old dude needs to die.

THE RICH ARE DIFFERENT by Lisa Morton
Even though she made her name revealing the private lives of the rich and famous, Sara Peck has no idea how deep their secrets really go . . . or the price they’ll pay to get what they desire.

THE MANICURE by Nell Quinn-Gibney
A trip to the nail salon is supposed to be relaxing. But as the demons of the past creep closer with every clip, even the most serene day of pampering can become a nightmare.

THE COMFORTING VOICE by Norman Prentiss
It’s a little strange how baby Lydia can only be soothed by her grandfather’s unnatural voice, ravaged by throat cancer. The weirdest part? What he’s saying is more disturbing than how he says it.

THE SITUATIONS by Joyce Carol Oates
There are certain lessons children must learn, rules they must follow, scars they must bear. No lesson is more important than this: Never question Daddy. Or else.

THE CORPSE KING by Tim Curran
Grave robbers Kierney and Clow keep one step ahead of the law as they ply their ghoulish trade, but there’s no outrunning a far more frightening enemy that hungers for the dead.

Where to Buy
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Come As You Are—Available for Preorder

[Come As You Are Cover]

Preorder Now!

For lovers of horror, mystery, and suspense, this is your chance to preorder a copy of my new collection, Come As You Are, on Amazon. The eBook and print versions will be published on September 7th. Here are the details:

ISBN: 9780999079102
Price: $4.99 (USD)
Edition: Kindle
Preorder Now!

Book Description

Some things are better left alone.

Ivan Stein isn’t sure he can survive seventh grade, let alone middle school. Living in a town known for its poverty and violence, he is regularly bullied along with his best friend, Ollie. But fortunes can change. One day, Ivan finds an old notebook in an abandoned locker at school. Despite a stark warning, he takes the book and unleashes powerful magic he can use to punish his enemies. But demonic forces control the book’s pages—a terrifying evil that will inflict suffering on the good as well as the bad and take his soul as payment.

Come As You Are is supernatural horror reimagined as Young Adult fiction. But don’t be fooled. Its violence will disturb you and its depiction of people living in a gloomy, desolate town without hope will make you cry. Pray that Ivan and his family can survive this dark, perilous journey.

Also in this collection:

“Nailed It”
“Brown the Recluse”
“I’ve Been Better”
“A Bone in the Throat”
“Regino Sings”
“A Proper Revenge Takes Time”
“Something to Hold”
“The Widow and Her Magician”
“Walker”

[Awarded 4 Stars At SPR]

STRANGE DARKNESS—From the Curious to the Fearful

Danielle DeVor is one of my favorite horror authors. As a writer I need to remind myself every day not to be afraid to go where my muse takes me. Well, folks, this girl isn’t afraid, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t need to be reminded either. I can almost hear her laughing as she gambols in the direction her muse is pointing.

DeVor’s stories take the reader from the curious to the uncomfortable to the fearful. And she doesn’t limit her imagination to vampires. How about some flesh-eating hermit crabs to start your day? After reading that one, you’ll think twice about taking your family to Red Lobster.

If you’ve never read this author’s work, I suggest you pick up Strange Darkness and get introduced to writing that is as original as it is scary. And pay particular attention to the imagery. Something in these pages just might awaken a dark longing deep in your own unconscious. Something that resembles, I don’t know, hermit crabs?

You can find this review at Amazon US.

Book Blurb

[Strange Darkness Cover]

Pull up a spot around the campfire and join us in this collection of 8 spooky short stories.

A deadly, dangerous man is caught between
the paranormal and his evil, hungry dreams.

A study on urban legends becomes all too real
for one student.

Time waits for no man and a horrible vampiric
legacy is in need of an heir.

Puppies are sweet and cute, but this little girl’s
Hellhound is loyal.

There’s nothing like an alien war.
Frog isn’t what he appears. And Boyd?
He’ll be thankful.

Running away will solve all your problems.
Or not. One girl will wish she stayed home.

There’s nothing like a few brain eating
hermit crabs to turn your world on its axis.

Sometimes the one who saves you from the
monsters is one person you’d least expect.

Where to Buy
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THE DARK DOZEN—Buy a Book, Save a Life!

I promise to be brief. A kind gentleman named Al Scarborough is in need of a new heart. When I was asked to participate in this project, I didn’t hesitate, though I’ve never actually met Al. So here’s the deal …

Twelve authors—including me—got together and contributed one short story each to a new horror and sci-fi collection called The Dark Dozen. All proceeds go to Al’s GoFundMe project. If you want to learn more about Al, you can read Maer Wilson’s blog post, “How My Chihuahua Almost Killed Al.”

You can find the book at Amazon. Just do it.

Book Blurb

[The Dark Dozen Cover]

This fund-raising anthology of Horror and Sci-Fi short stories was created to benefit Altoine Scarborough, a man in desperate need of a heart transplant. The stories, cover art, formatting, editing and compilation were all donated. Every penny of the royalties we receive will go to Al’s GOFUNDME project.

Vampires to ghosts to monsters—and futures we won’t want to see come true—fill this collection of dark stories that are sure to give you chills. This stellar, fan-favorite group, which includes award-winning and best-selling authors, brings a unique voice to some familiar and not-so-familiar creatures. Join Travis Luedke, C.N. Lesley, Danielle DeVor, Maer Wilson, Steven Ramirez, Jody A. Kessler, Louann Carroll, Ross G, Homer, M. Joseph Murphy, Robert P. Wills, Karenne Griffin, and Allan B. Anderson for a trip into the Darkness.

Available now at Amazon.

STRANGE DARKNESS—Enjoy the Ride!

By Danielle DeVor

[Danielle DeVor]Why does horror lend itself to the short story format so easily? I think it really does because, with horror, you can jump in right at the moment of action. Through setting, smell, visuals, and sound, you can put someone right into a situation where their heart pounds and they are waiting for the monster to strike.

That’s why I decided to put out a collection of stories. While I like drawing a reader into a world and leading them up to the impact, I like the instantaneous shock too. The moment the werewolf’s teeth bite into your leg. The moment when you know you might die. So, welcome to Strange Darkness. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Book Blurb

[Strange Darkness Cover]

Pull up a spot around the campfire and join us in this collection of 8 spooky short stories.

A deadly, dangerous man is caught between
the paranormal and his evil, hungry dreams.

A study on urban legends becomes all too real
for one student.

Time waits for no man and a horrible vampiric
legacy is in need of an heir.

Puppies are sweet and cute, but this little girl’s
Hellhound is loyal.

There’s nothing like an alien war.
Frog isn’t what he appears. And Boyd?
He’ll be thankful.

Running away will solve all your problems.
Or not. One girl will wish she stayed home.

There’s nothing like a few brain eating
hermit crabs to turn your world on its axis.

Sometimes the one who saves you from the
monsters is one person you’d least expect.

Where to Buy
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

About the Author
Named one of the Examiner’s 2014 Women in Horror: 93 Horror Authors you Need to Read Right Now, Danielle DeVor has been spinning the spider webs, or rather, the keyboard for more frights and oddities. She spent her early years fantasizing about vampires and watching “Salem’s Lot” way too many times. When not writing and reading about weird things, you will find her hanging out at the nearest coffee shop, enjoying a Mocha Frappuccino.

You can find Danielle on Twitter, on Facebook and on her blog, danielledevor.wordpress.com, as well as on her Amazon author page.