Short Story Sunday: I Call Upon Thee (Ania Ahlborn) #novella #horror

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Anyone who frequents Clues and Reviews knows that I am completely obsessed with Ania Ahlborn.  Her novels always keep me glued to the pages, holding on to the edge of my seat and looking over my shoulder.  Really, what more does anyone want in a horror novel,  am I right?

I am especially pleased when Ahlborn publishes a novella.  It really helps to give me my fix until another one of her novels publishes. And, since Ania Ahlborn is an “auto-buy” author for me, I didn’t even pay attention to what her newest novella, I Call Upon Thee, was about until after I had already downloaded it to my Kindle.  Once I realized that it had an Ouija board at the core of the plot, I had to take some time to mentally prepare myself.  Ouija boards TERRIFY me. 

 At 246 pages, this novella packs a serious punch.  Using a back and forth narration between the present after our protagonist, Maggie heads home to help after the death of her sister and flashbacks to her childhood, Ahlborn weaves a terrifying tale.  Even small details (creepy niece, anyone?) had me on edge while I was reading.  That is one of my favourite things about her work; she is able to take regular, everyday occurrences and flip them into my worst nightmare.

 Now that I have finished, all  I have to say is YIKES!

If you like a little fright in your reading, then I would say pick this one up!  I loved it. 

Since #cjsreads enjoys all things creepy, we decided to do this one as a buddy read.  Want to see what Jessica and Chadra thought of this Ania Ahlborn novella?  Keep reading to find out!

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Book Review: The Doll’s Alphabet (Camilla Grudova) @coachhousebooks ‏

Doll's Alphabet .pngThe Doll’s Alphabet, the upcoming short story collection by Camilla Grudova, was something completely different from anything I have encountered recently. These stories, thirteen in total, are dark and eerie with some sort of childlike quality about them; they are almost fairytale like in nature; each story sending a message and all provoking caution.   I was bewildered while I was reading. I found myself continuously pondering that perhaps I wasn’t smart enough to “get” these stories and spending the rest of my time thinking “Wait…WHAT??!”

This short story collection felt like something I would have studied in university; filled with motifs and symbolism, I really liked how Grudova took several political stances throughout and discussed feminism. Very much like the Southern Gothic style of William Faulkner and Flannery O’Conner, these stories read like they came from a different time period. Unstitching, the short but powerful opening story begins with women literally “unzipping” and coming out of their skin. It is only then that they feel liberated and the men are outraged to see their women so unhinged. Does this make sense? Nope! Do I think it is pretty awesome? Absolutely.
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Book Review: Dis Mem Ber (Joyce Carol Oates) @JoyceCarolOates @MysteriousPress

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I have been increasing the number of short story collections I have been reading lately. I love that they are flexible and I can read them along with anything else I have on my nightstand. I can read a story at a time for a little break and be back to business. However, Dis Mem Ber, a series of short stories by Joyce Carol Oates, did not provide the versatility I desired; I was unable to simply pick up this book and put it down again. Once I started, I was completely sucked into these dark and twisted narratives and had to greedily finish them all!!

Each story provided a look into completely different sets of characters and scenarios. Dis Mem Ber, the first story followed a girl who became attached to the family black sheep, The Crawl Space about a grieving widow, and The Drowned Girl about a woman who becomes obsessed with a homicide victim. Ominous and gritty, each story provided a snapshot that I desperately wanted more of!

I felt like these stories gave a Southern Gothic Fiction vibe (think Flannery O’Conner or Shirley Jackson), which I loved. I also loved that each of the stories was narrated by or featured a female protagonist.

For my first experience with this author, I would say it was a win. Obviously, some stories, like the ones I mentioned above, stood out more than others, but overall, I love this collection! 4/5 stars from me.

Thanks to the author and the publisher for a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

This book was also a June #cjsreads pick!  Keep reading to see what Jessica and Chandra thought of this one.

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Short Story Sunday: Mini Review- The Wrath (Matt Gordon Perry)

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In the mid-1800’s, a family finds them in the isolated Canadian wilderness having lost their way. Taking refuge in an abandoned cabin and snowed in by a storm, a deep fever takes hold of them…one by one.

The Wrath, a short story by Matt Gordon Perry, was an incredibly quick read not only because of its short nature but also because it was completely consuming. This short story packs a serious punch.

The tone is dark and ominous and it reminded me a little bit of the Evil Dead meets Little House on the Prairie.

Didn’t think you would ever hear a comparison like that huh?

Mind you, there are no demons or zombies in this book, but the general tone was kind of the same.   Something is lurking, something is taking hold and a book is calling the shots and warning of danger.

I really enjoyed this one!

4/5 stars.

Thanks to the author who provided me with a copy of this book; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

Book Review: Things We Lost in the Fire (Mariana Enriquez) @CrownPublishing

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Things We Lost In The Fire: Stories by Mariana Enriquez is a collection of short stories that explore different facets of life in contemporary Argentina. Chilling and dark, these stories absolutely have a Shirley Jackson vibe. Gothic literature at its finest, these are filled with paranormal elements, dark and gloomy setting in the Argentinian slums and broken characters needing to be rescued.

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Book Review: Dead Over Heels (Theresa Braun)

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-6-44-27-amWhat would you do if the ghosts of your past were threatening your chance at happiness? Would you stand idly by? Or would you fight to be with the person who is responsible for your happiness….even if it means confronting old demons?

Dead Over Heels, a short story by Theresa Braun, is a pleasant mix of a crime fiction, chick lit and paranormal thriller. I do not usually like short stories, in my experience; they spend too much time building a plot and not enough time spent on resolution. They don’t allow for character development. This story changed my opinion. Braun gave me exactly what I wanted in this story; well-developed characters, a lot of action and a creepy, concise ghost story with a shocking twist.

For such a short story, it packs a serious punch!

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Book Review: Manipulated Lives (H.A Leuschel)


Manipulated Lives by H.A Leuschel is a collection of five short novellas that follow different people caught or damaged by their relationship with a manipulative individual. Each section tells a different story and reads like a cautionary tale.

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Book Review: The Stoner Series (Frank Westworth)

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Ex-soldier, and sometimes assassin, J.J Stoner has always lived above the law. When he is approached and handpicked by a mysterious man, known as “The Hardman” and is offered a substantial lump of cash in exchange for a hit, Stoner finds himself as a secret weapon, a type of mercenary, for the British government.

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