So I read this at about 4am waiting for my infant daughter to fall asleep. It was certainly enjoyable and a good way to keep me up. But… maybe it was a little too good. Even after I managed to get back to sleep… the dreams were kind of weird to say the least. It was definitely a haunting kind of story. But one that had just a nice little dash of humour.
After finishing this story, I wondered who and what Katie was who was in a different town. After all, if the lead in this story was some kind of creature that haunts the haunters, then who in the heck is Katie? I like all of the possibilities that my mind took me on and made me wonder about. After all, that’s generally why I enjoy reading horror short stories so much… the possibilities are endless.
This was such a quick short story, so it definitely suits that this is a quick review. It was short, sharp and shiny and seriously enjoyable. The perfect way to wait out a 4-month old who refuses to sleep. But not read it to her… because you know, I want her to actually sleep…
There’s always the “nice guy type”. Even in death, but, as always seems to happen with the “nice guy”, they’re not always that nice…
Oh wow. There are so many layers of devious and revenge in this story. Which is surprising considering how short this story actually is. And, although I don’t agree with ANY of the characters’ actions… I also kind of understand some of them.
I seriously hate that saying “nice guys finish last”. Mostly because those “nice guys” generally turn out to be… Well, not nice. That is definitely the case in this story… not so nice and most definitely not finishing last.
Although this story involved a whole heap of violence and discomfort… I actually found it slightly sassy. In that humorous, but not outright funny way. I may just be a little sick and twisted though…
He’s got a ferryman trying to take him to the other side. But instead, he wants to find out why there is a knife protruding from his chest. And maybe, just maybe, protect his wife from the same fate.
I kind of guessed that the marriage that takes centre stage in this story wasn’t quite as picturesque as one would hope and imagine. That the murder that takes centre stage probably had something to do with the marriage. It was not quite what I had expected… but I was still right. Kind of.
I got a pretty serious Ghosts of Christmas feeling from this story. There was just something about starting a story with a man with a giant white beard that made me feel… nostalgic for that great Charles Dickens tale. And it’s always fun to wax nostalgic about things. Alright, it’s all about a murder and there was no Christmas feel to this whatsoever. But it still made me feel somewhat nostalgic.
This really wasn’t quite a romantic story, but I did like the ties that are strong even in death. Even if those ties are kind of what caused your own death… there is still that feeling of consistency even in the horrors that we afflict on one another. It might not be a great story for love, but this was certainly an intriguing one.
Title: The Have-Nots Author: Elizabeth Hand In: Hauntings (Ellen Datlow) Rating Out of 5: 2.5 (Readable, but not worth reading again) My Bookshelves:Ghosts Dates read: 6th August 2021 Pace: Slow Format: Short story Publisher: Tachyon Year: 2013 5th sentence, 74th page: But eventually it all settled down.
A series of tragic events leads to a surprise visit from a celebrity. But, when he comes back, things are a little bit… haunting.
I normally like stories that are a little bit jumpy and swirly. Not so much this one. I liked what the author was trying to do. I just didn’t love the execution of it.
The paragraphs that were the narrator talking about cosmetics or ?I think? someone in the room with them was just confusing. It didn’t lend to the story in the least, and actually ended up making me skim through the story. Which I only do when I’m not quite enjoying the tale.
I probably also didn’t love this because the whole story just felt gossipy and tragic. I liked the allusion to Elvis. But other than that, it just read like a lonely housewife saying negatives about someone to make themselves feel better about their own lives. Again, just not my favourite thing.
Title: Grave Dance Author: Kalayna Price Series: Alex Craft #2 Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect) My Bookshelves:Fae, Ghosts, Grim reapers, Paranormal romance Dates read: 16th – 26th April 2021 Pace: Fast Format: Novel Publisher: Roc Year: 2011 5th sentence, 74th page: Small, large, winged, floral, too-many limbed, too-few – they were a dizzying display rarely seen on the streets.
Whoever said dead men tell no tales obviously never met Alex Craft…
After a month spent recovering from a vicious fight with a sorcerer, grave witch Alex Craft is ready to get back to solving murders by raising the dead. With her love life in turmoil, thanks to the disappearance of Fae Investigation Bureau agent Falin Andrews and a shocking “L”-word confession from death himself, Alex is eager for the distractions of work. But her new case turns out to be a deadly challenge.
The police hire Alex to consult on a particularly strange investigation in the nature preserve south of Nekros City. The strange part: There are no corpses – only fragments of them. A serial killer is potentially on the loose, and Alex has no way to raise a shade without a body, so she’ll have to rely on the magic of others to find leads. But as she begins investigating, a creature born of the darkest magic comes after her. Someone very powerful wants to make sure the only thing she finds is a dead end – her own.
It doesn’t matter how many times I read these novels… I love them each and every time. This read through was absolutely no different. It was fun and quirky and just an impossible to put down journal. I love Price’s writing and find myself irrevocably drawn in each and every time. It helps that I notice different parts of the storyline with each reading…
Alex seems to just keep getting herself further and further into trouble everytime I pick up one of her stories. I can’t wait to see what more trouble she gets into (I’ve only ever read up to Grave Memory before). She seems to be one of those characters that blunders into problem after problem, unable to quite stop herself. Which, of course, makes it a fun and entertaining adventure to be on with her. And seriously, very exciting. One of my favourite fast-paced books on my shelves.
I’d like to say that the love triangle in this story is getting far more complex. But, really, it’s not a triangle… it’s some kind of weird, squiggly line. But ultimately, Alex keeps finding herself stuck between two amazing guys. Honestly, I want her to end up with Death. But I’m actually not entirely sure that she will. Some series, it is easy to see who the final love interest will be. But in this one… I have no damn clue. And I love that fact. Aside from the fae politics, her ancestry and all sorts, it’s the love squiggly that makes me want to keep diving headfirst into this series.
Not only is this an amazing, kind of fast-paced story, it’s also one that is perfectly setting up many future battles and complications for the characters. It’s bringing all of the complexities of the fae courts into the complexities of attraction, debts, friendship, cops… there is so much groundwork being laid and it makes this story all that much more intriguing.
Title: Delta Sly Honey Author: Lucius Shepard In: Hauntings (Ellen Datlow) Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one) My Bookshelves:Ghosts, Horror Dates read: 16th April 2021 Pace: Medium Format: Short story Publisher: Tachyon Year: 2013 5th sentence, 74th page: But it stains you alla same.
They’re in a warzone and constantly battling for a future. But there may be someone haunting their world.
This short story was a bit of a skim read for me. It wasn’t the kind of story that I’d necessarily return to and be obsessed with, but it was enjoyable all the same. Just an easy and fun read altogether.
The confusion and multiple deaths in this story definitely have a haunting feeling to them. But it was about war, so that kind of lent itself further to this storyline. I mean, war is seriously confusing and terrifying. So why wouldn’t a story about it be seriously confusing?
There is a lot of death in this tale. Mostly I just felt confused and trying to count the number of deaths in this tale. Which kind of works when it’s a story all about hauntings…
Title: Grave Witch Author: Kalayna Price Series: Alex Craft #1 Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again) My Bookshelves:Fae, Ghosts, Grim reapers, Paranormal romance Dates read: 28th February – 11th March 2021 Pace: Fast Format: Novel Publisher: Roc Year: 2010 5th sentence, 74th page: Which still didn’t explain why it didn’t register as dead.
Grave witch Alex Craft can speak to the dead, but that doesn’t mean she likes what they have to say.
As a private investigator and consultant for the police, Alex Craft has seen a lot of dark magic. But even though she’s on good terms with Death himself – who happens to look fantastic in jeans – nothing has prepared her for her latest case. Alex is investigating a high-profile murder when she’s attacked by the “shade” she’s raising, which should be impossible. To top off her day, someone makes a serious attempt on her life, but Death saves her. Guess he likes having her around…
To solve this case Alex will have to team up with tough homicide detective Falin Andrews. Falin seems to be hiding something – though it’s certainly not his dislike of Alex. But Alex knows she needs his help to navigate the tangled webs of mortal and paranormal politics, and to track down a killer who wields a magic so malevolent, it may cost Alex her life…and her soul.
I’ve read this book more times than I can count. I actually am at a point where I need to buy myself a new copy… it’s just starting to fall apart quite drastically. There is just a wonderful feeling about this tale. A sense of coming home just encompasses me whenever I open the spine of this book. Alex is an amazing heroine, the storyline is full of octane and makes your heart skip a beat. And the whole tale just generally sweeps you off your feet from the very first moment…
Normally I’m not a huge fan of love triangles – they feel kind of forced, and a little bit indulgent at times if I’m being honest. Yet, there is something about Price’s writing that makes me… not mind them. For Alex, the triangle with Falin and Death is just starting to form. And it doesn’t feel like a self-indulgent, faked out story where the girl is just desirable. Rather, it is the forming of two different relationships and the ways in which they expand. Falin and Death are two different characters, ones that will draw you in and leave you wondering who Alex will ultimately choose…
I have heaps and heaps of urban fantasy books on my shelves (it’s probably the biggest section if I’m being honest). And most of them deal with witches, magic, fae, or some kind of approach to this. However, I don’t have any books which have reapers, death and grave witches as a feature. Which makes this series and book even more special. There is only one other series that has a woman who is capable to seeing death and with that strong a connection to death – Darynda Jones’Charley Davidson series. I love the uniqueness and wonderful way that this story is approached. After all, Alex is a wonderful enigma, one that I want to find more and more out about.
This is one of those wonderfully fast paced urban fantasies. It is a great story on its own, but it also helps to set up the world of Alex Craft and all of the shenanigans that are about to follow. It is one of those stories, that no matter how many times I read it, I will find something else to enjoy. Something else that I didn’t know last time. And even though I mostly remember the storyline with each rereading… I still feel surprised and unable to put the book down with each rereading.
Title: Necromancing the Stone Author: Lish McBride Series: Necromancer #2 Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect) My Bookshelves:Ghosts, Humour, Necromancers Dates read: 21st – 27th February 2021 Pace: Medium Format: Novel Publisher: Square Fish Year: 2012 5th sentence, 74th page: “That god help is hard to find.”
“SOMEONE LEFT A KNIFE IN THE DOOR.”
Her voice was nonchalant, trying to mask her fear, trying to make it sounds as if someone had simply left flowers.
With the defeat of the evil necromancer Douglas behind him, Sam LaCroix is getting used to his new life. Okay, so he hadn’t exactly planned to be a powerful necromancer with a seat on the local magical council and a capricious werewolf sort-of-girlfriend, but things are going fine, right?
Well… not really. He’s pretty tired of getting beat up by everyone and their mother, for one thing, and he can’t help but feel that his new house hates him. His best friend is a were-bear, someone is threatening his sister, and while Sam realizes that he himself has a lot of power at his fingertips, he’s not exactly sure how to use it. Which turns out to be kind of a problem when someone close to him turns up dead.
As with all of the other McBride stories that I’ve read so far, this is funny, humorous and brilliantly written. It’s a fantastic ending to this duology. One that I seriously enjoyed and couldn’t put down. After all, Sam is not even remotely what you would expect as a necromancer. And, as you slowly begin to realise, he has a whole heap of other powers at his disposal… ones that I wanted to know more about.
Douglas was one scary SOB in Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. He gets worse in this. Total Voldemort vibes. Although, to be fair, he is much, much less freaky than Voldemort. And so much less devilish. Yet, there is a bit of a redemption arc – one that didn’t necessarily redeem the villain, but did make him a little less despicable. And horrifying.
As much as I loved this story, I didn’t really love the fact that this story ended with Brid and Sam being… unresolved. It was seriously frustrating. To the point that I kept turning the final page back and forth. I just thought I was missing something! Although, it does leave the end open to the interpretation that there was a happily ever after for the two of them… just one that took a little bit more work than there was time for within this story.
I love that Sam seems to jump from the frying pan into the story. Repeatedly. And consistently. Not necessarily a great thing for him and his friends, but a wonderful journey for me. You just kind of feel him blundering from moment to moment, trying to figure out what on earth he is doing. Kind of like how I feel most days of my life if I’m being truly honest here…
I can’t wait to read more McBride books. They’re all sitting on my wishlist, ready and rearing to go. I just have to find a little more funding… and I just hope that I get to have a few appearances from Sam and Brid again. They’re just too damn wonderful and cute. Even if they could both kill me with their hands tied behind their backs…
Title: Eenie, Meenie, Ipsateenie Author: Pat Cadigan In: Hauntings (Ellen Datlow) Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!) My Bookshelves:Ghosts, Horror Dates read: 11th February 2021 Pace: Fast Format: Short story Publisher: Tachyon Year: 2013 5th sentence, 74th page: This was the fourth apartment they’d had since coming to the Midwest, but they’d all been the same.
Milo didn’t want to be IT. And now he’s haunted by the fact that he’ll forever be “IT”.
This was a bit of a meandering story. And one that you tend to fill the gaps in on… it just makes you feel all that much more uncomfortable when you don’t quite know if you have the complete picture. Which I’m convinced is what Cadigan was going for.
There is something extra haunting about a childhood killing. A childhood ghost. I think that it’s something about that loss of potential. Plus the fact that IT is capitalized throughout this whole story made me think of the Stephen King story IT which involves a creepy clown literally feasting about children’s potential… all in all not something that is overly comfortable. And most certainly helps to file this short story safely in my horror shelf.
I finished this short story and honestly felt goosebumps. It was most definitely not a comfortable tale to read. And I kind of want to read it again and again. It may not have been comfortable… but it was intriguing. And there were so many subtleties throughout that I’m sure I totally missed. But I’m pretty sure Milo turned into a killer of children…
25 chilling short stories by outstanding female writers
Women have always written exceptional stories of horror and the supernatural. This anthology aims to showcase the very best of these, from Amelia B. Edwards’s ‘The Phantom Coach’, published in 1864, through past luminaries such as Edith Wharton and Mary Elizabeth Braddon, to modern talents including Muriel Gray, Sarah Pinborough and Lilith Saintcrow.
From tales of ghostly children to visitations by departed loved ones, and from heart-rending stories to the profoundly unsettling depiction of extreme malevolence, what each of these stories has in common is the effect of a slight chilling of the skin, a feeling of something not quite present, but nevertheless there.
If anything, this showcase anthology proves that sometimes the female of the species can also be the most terrifying…
This is a fantastic collection. One which I thoroughly enjoyed but learnt fairly quickly that I shouldn’t be reading this late at night… after all, some of these ghost stories are actually kind of scary. And reading them late at night with the wind blowing through the house while you’re home alone… not the best decision making of my life. To be fair, it’s also not the worst…. But that’s a whole other story.
I love that all of these ghost stories are written by women. I definitely believe that we need a collection of women-only writers more often. Or at least, I need to buy more to put on my shelves… although not all of these stories had strong women as the voice, they still felt more relatable than many of the stories that I read by men. I suppose shared experience and all that nonsense.
As a kid, I was never into ghost stories or tales of things that go bump in the night. Although I’ve gotten more into the genre over the past few years, it’s still sometimes not the most powerful driver for me. This collection though is swaying me more and more towards those horror stories.