Tag Archives: Horror

Delta Sly Honey by Lucius Shepard

Overview
Hauntings: Datlow, Ellen: 9781616960889: Amazon.com: Books

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.

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Synopsis

They’re in a warzone and constantly battling for a future. But there may be someone haunting their world.

Thoughts

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…

<- CargoNothing Will Hurt You ->

Image source: Amazon

Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman

Overview
Image result for by blood we live book cover

Title: Snow, Glass, Apples
Author: Neil Gaiman
In: By Blood We Live (John Joseph Adams) & Smoke and Mirrors (Neil Gaiman)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Horror, Retellings, Vampires
Dates read: 31st March 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: He rode with a small retinue: large enough to defend him, small enough that another monarch – myself, for instance – would not view him as a potential threat.

Synopsis

This is the true story of Snow White… one that will leave you feeling seriously uncomfortable.

Thoughts

I’ve read quite a few theories that state that Snow White is a vampire. Which seriously makes a deep, dark, twisted kind of sense. Apparently Gaiman feels the same. And this completely supported the theory in the creepiest most disgusting of ways possible. I’m glad that before I started reading this, there was actually a bit of a warning… it definitely helped prepare me for the ick factor that this awesome short story had.

Not only does this short story deal with vampires, and snow white. There is also necrophilia and all sorts of hints of bad things that I don’t necessarily want to think about. Again, seriously glad that there was a disclaimer at the beginning. But it didn’t stop me from being unable to put the story down and stop thinking about it.

This retelling is dark, twisted and truly glorious. I have not been able to stop thinking about it since I finished it. Which is probably one of the many reasons why I loved it so much. That, and, you know, I just tend to love everything I’ve read by Neil Gaiman.

<- By Blood We LiveThe Master of Rampling Gate ->

Image source: Fantastic Fiction

Cargo by E. Michael Lewis

Overview
Hauntings: Datlow, Ellen: 9781616960889: Amazon.com: Books

Title: Cargo
Author: E. Michael Lewis
In: Hauntings (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Horror
Dates read: 31st March 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tachyon
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: There was none.

Synopsis

Their job is to ship cargo. They don’t get to know what or why. But this lot of cargo has a much darker secret.

Thoughts

This story seriously and deeply hurt my poor heart. There is nothing more tragic in war than the loss of innocent children’s lives. And I seem to be coming up against this theme quite a bit at the moment. So reading a seriously creepy horror story about this theme… yeah, my heart bled a little. Particularly since I read this so soon after finishing Zlata’s Diary.

War is one of the more horrifying aspects of human nature in my opinion. Reading about it was harsh and kind of sucked. But it most definitely drove home the fact that it’s the innocents that really suffer. And that children, the world over just want to play.

In this story, the fact that children just want to play is kind of creepy. I mean, it’s a great notion. But the actual moments in this story? Yup. Seriously terrifying.

<- Hunger: A ConfessionDelta Sly Honey ->

Image source: Amazon

Hunger: A Confession by Dale Bailey

Overview
Hauntings: Datlow, Ellen: 9781616960889: Amazon.com: Books

Title: Hunger: A Confession
Author: Dale Bailey
In: Hauntings (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Horror
Dates read: 28th February 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tachyon
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: That’s when I remembered Mom’s warning that I wasn’t to fool around down here.

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Synopsis

Jeremy has always told the most horrifying stories right before bed time… but this one will make you want to keep the light off.

Thoughts

This was… freaking terrifying. Like. Completely, totally and utterly terrifying. I’m really damn glad that I didn’t read this late at night.

I’m a big sister, and I know that I have done many, many things over the years to torture my little sister. But what was happening in this story… I think she should be glad that I didn’t try and torture and scare her as much as Jeremy did in this. But, the uh…. Comeuppance was waaaaaaay more worse.

This was brilliantly written and completely spine tingling. It is beautiful and wonderful. But yeah… don’t read this late at night. Honestly, it is horrifying.

<- Eenie, Meenie, IpsateenieCargo ->

Image source: Amazon

Eenie, Meenie, Ipsateenie by Pat Cadigan

Overview
Hauntings: Datlow, Ellen: 9781616960889: Amazon.com: Books

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.

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Synopsis

Milo didn’t want to be IT. And now he’s haunted by the fact that he’ll forever be “IT”.

Thoughts

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…

<- HauntingsHunger: A Confession ->

Image source: Amazon

The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women edited by Marie O’Regan

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of ghost stories by women book cover

Title: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women
Author: Marie O’Regan, Kim Lakin-Smith, Sarah Pinborough, Kelley Armstrong, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman, Sarah Langan, Elizabeth Massie, Alex Bell, Alison Littlewood, Nina Allan, Lisa Tuttle, Nancy Holder, Yvonne Navarro, Mary Cholmondeley, Marion Arnott, Lilith Saintcrow, Nancy Kilpatrick, Muriel Gray, Cynthia Asquith, Amelia B. Edwards, Elizabeth Gaskell, Gail Z. Martin, Edith Wharton & Gaie Sebold
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Marie O’Regan)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Horror, Short story collections
Dates read: 29th June – 26th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: She was a sickly child, prone to unaccountable fits and agues, and her parents were convinced on more than one night that she would not live to see the dawn.

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Synopsis

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…

Thoughts

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.

<- The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories 2Field of the Dead ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of ghost stories by women book cover

Title: The Old Nurse’s Story
Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
In: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Marie O’Regan) & Gothic Short Stories (David Blair)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Horror
Dates read: 22nd November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 1852
5th sentence, 74th page: Miss Furnivall was an old lady not far from eighty, I should think, but I do not know.

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Synopsis

A chilling tale of the horrors of the past, as told by the children’s mother’s old nurse.

Thoughts

I really loved the cadence and flow of this story. It had this amazing flow throughout that pulled me in and made me incredibly happy. I also loved the way that the storyline unfolded. It was very easy to follow, but also intricate enough that it was impossible to look away from the pages of the book.

There is something quite scary about children ghosts, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned before. But, the child that is luring the children to their death is not what I would have expected. It gives this sinister feeling to the idea that there is now an orphan left unattached and vulnerable. Something which is kind of tragic and filled with a great backstory.

The Old Nurse’s Story is a wonderful tale that sweeps you away and immerses you in a reality that will take you away from daily life for a short while. It’s gothic and intense. A wonderful story that I look forward to journeying on again in the future.

<- The Phantom CoachAmong the Shoals Forever ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Phantom Coach by Amelia B. Edwards

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of ghost stories by women book cover

Title: The Phantom Coach
Author: Amelia B. Edwards
In: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Marie O’Regan)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Horror
Dates read: 21st November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 1864
5th sentence, 74th page: The words that I was about to utter died upon my lips, and a strange horror – a dreadful horror – came upon me.

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Synopsis

It’s dark, snowing and deathly cold. Queque the Phantom Coach and the journey that strikes fear into the heart of man.

Thoughts

Phantom coaches seem to be a bit of a theme in ghost stories. I suppose there should be cars in some more modern-day stories. But I’ve only ever read tales which feature a phantom coach. Which is probably why I’ve never found the idea of a horse and carriage, or a coach to be all that romantic.

This short story had a whole heap of mystery occurring throughout. There is a mysterious house with a mysterious master to begin with. Then there is the phantom coach travelling the roads late at night. It gives this whole story a serious mystical feeling that left me sitting in my very well-lit room, thinking about what I’d just read. I love stories that I think about for long after I’ve turned that final page.

I really enjoyed the setting of this story. I felt like the catching of the phantom coach was a bit of a repetitive trope. But the setting… it was beautifully described and brilliantly put. It swept me away so that when I turned that final page, it took me a moment to return to reality.

<- God Grant That She Lye StillThe Old Nurse’s Story ->

Image source: Goodreads

God Grant That She Lye Still by Cynthia Asquith

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of ghost stories by women book cover

Title: God Grant That She Lye Still
Author: Cynthia Asquith
In: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Marie O’Regan)
Rating Out of 5: 2 (Managed to read it… just)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Horror
Dates read: 20th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 1931
5th sentence, 74th page: I thought I should never see anything more beautiful, but I did the next time I saw her, for the variety of her beauty was unending.

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Synopsis

He’s found the woman he loves – but she’s put upon by a mysterious affliction. One that could just be the death of her.

Thoughts

I really struggled with this short story. I’m not sure if it was the story, or the fact that there was a whipper snipper going on out the front of my house. Either way, I reread certain passages and just generally had trouble reading this.

This story made me think of Dracula and Jekyll and Hyde. They had that same feeling of possession and mystery that these classics both have. Plus, the language was actually really similar. Pleasantly so.

I gave this short story such a low rating because I just didn’t get into it. Having said that, I did enjoy the process of reading it. I just wouldn’t want to try again.

<- Front Row RiderThe Phantom Coach ->

Image source: Goodreads

Let Loose by Mary Cholmondeley

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of ghost stories by women book cover

Title: Let Loose
Author: Mary Cholmondeley
In: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Marie O’Regan)
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Horror, Vampires
Dates read: 14th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 1902
5th sentence, 74th page: The moon in its various quarterings has always exerted a marked influence on what I may call the sub-dominant, namely, the poetic side of my nature.

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Synopsis

He always wears unexpectedly high collars, but the reason behind his decision making all has to do with an open crypt. And a series of mistakes.

Thoughts

In the incredibly intense journey that The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women has so far taken me on, this is less terrifying. Not to say that it wasn’t still a little bit spine-tingling. But it just wasn’t as can’t sleep at night as many of the other stories.

I liked the interesting setup within this story – after all, it was a tale within a tale. I didn’t really like the guy who told either tale. After all, one married the sister, and the whole thing was just… icky feeling. But I did like the format of the story. And the writing style. I just didn’t love the actual storyline.

I’m pretty sure that this story was about vampires. Or at least, releasing the evil beings from the tomb. It’s a reminder to maybe just let the dead sleep and leave them in peace.

<- ReturnAnother One in from the Cold ->

Image source: Goodreads