Dark Fairytales in a Lovecraftian Landscape
I’m a big fan of Crystal Lake Publishing’s short story anthologies, so I jumped at the chance to receive a launch copy of Twice Upon An Apocalypse. These are all the well known favourite fairytales tossed into a hellish world.
Fairytales in their essence are quite horrific, not all love and happy endings.
I loved the way each story was reworked into a unique tale, but still carried the same original story mingled with a unique flavour of Lovecraft. I find it hard to pick my favourites as they are so many good stories! But the twists on Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella were excellent with their strong female characters! I also loved the Bluebeard and the Little Mermaid stories. The Little Mermaid has always struck a chord with me, as does the evil tale of Bluebeard.
The joy of a short story collection like this is being able to dip in for a complete story in a short period of time.
Even though I never stopped at just one story, because I kept wanting to see which fairytale would come next! I’m already dying to read the next Crystal Lake anthology.
To purchase the anthology click here.
To find out more about Crystal Lake Publishing click here.
The Third Twin from Darren Speegle is another original horror novel from Crystal Lake Publishing and I was lucky enough to receive a launch day free copy.
Best Read: While planning an Alaskan or Brazilian adventure!!
The Third Twin is clever, dark and scary. Not things go bump in the night scary, but scary like someone hurting all your nearest and dearest. There are some truly horrible moments in the book, but all are portrayed beautifully. Like all the other Crystal Lake Publishing books I’ve read, this is original and edgy.
The travel scenes are unbelievable – I want to visit Spider festival in Brazil and the Vampire Ball in Germany! I could see and smell each unique landscape in my head. The cover art is also beautiful and evocative.
A trip to the Spider Festival in Brazil for Barry and his daughter Kristin, a couple of years after Kristin’s twin’s death, sparks a horrific and surreal nightmare for the entire family. This is thrilling and mysterious book, with twists and turns throughout.
My only criticism is that the end was maybe a bit too clever? I had re-read the last chapter a few times to try and understand it. Eloquent and well paced, I will definitely be reading more from this author.
To purchase the book: click here.
To find out more about the book click here: click here.
Embers, A collection of Dark Fiction is a dark and twisted selection of smouldering tales.
Best way to read Embers: Curled up by a dying fire, sipping a glass of red or tea!
Recently, I’ve become a big fan of short story collections, so I jumped at the chance to review this ARC from Crystal Lake Publishing. Horror collections work especially well. A short pacy story can pack just as heavy a punch as a longer, more developed one. Gutted : Beautiful Horror Stories (also published by Crystal Lake Publishing) re-awakened my love of horrific short stories.
Embers reminded me of shows from my childhood like Tales of the Dark Side and The Twilight Zone (why I was allowed to watch this as a child, I still don’t know!) Each story is connected by a little thread to the next one. Kenneth created a web of weird, sometimes gory, sometimes psychological and always scary threads.
My favourite story is The Chamber, it made me feel clammy and uncomfortable for all the right/ wrong reasons, was the first one. In The Chamber, an old war veteran visits an old war site with his family and encounters horrors from the past and present. The imagery and sense of dread is excellently portrayed.
Of Both Worlds and Breathing Cave, two slightly connected stories freaked me out! The environment and the character’s emotions are so vivid, the reader feels like they are part of the story. The stories based largely in caves, reminded me of The Descent (an excellent horror movie from 2005).
To conclude, this well written selection is perfect for dipping into. I love discovering new horror fiction authors and I will be reading more of Kenneth’s work. To find out more about the author click here.
Click here to purchase the book.
The Final Reconciliation is a hard metal symphony of terror.
Written in an album format, The Final Reconciliation is a tale of the occult, a gypsy who is more than she seems and a hard metal band striving to hit the big time. When The Yellow Kings have the performance of their lives, there is only one survivor.
I was delighted to receive an ARC of The Final Reconciliation from Crystal Lake Publishing (link to the Crystal Lake website). This is the third book I’ve read from Crystal Lake Publishing, including Gutted Beautiful Horror Stories. Gutted was the most memorable, brutal and beautiful collection of stories from last year.
The pace and length of this novella were perfect for the tale, narrated 30 years after the tragic concert, by a journalist interviewing aging rock star Aidan Cross. The Yellow Kings are struggling to make their dreams come true when Camilla, a seductive gypsy character appears on the scene. Her introduction to them is the start of their nightmarish fate.
Friendship is key to the story, as were the changing dynamics of the group. The scenes where the band are pouring their souls into their final album are described in gory and grotesque detail.
There is dark beautiful imagery during the visions of Carcosa. The ending was both disturbing and mesmerising. The album reaches its’ crescendo with a horrifying climax.
The Final Reconciliation is a horrifying tale, which will appeal to lovers of heavy metal and horror alike.
Here are the links to purchase this book: