Book Review: For A Glimpse Beyond The Terminus by Jordan R. Anderson

Title: For A Glimpse Beyond The Terminus
Author: Jordan R. Anderson
Genre: Horror
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

For A Glimpse Beyond the Terminus marks the second collection of horror, emotion and oddity by author Jordan R. Anderson.
Within these pages, a middle-aged man encounters oddity in a used car purchase, and a pair of detectives investigates the aftermath. A young employee of a tech firm discovers strange abilities in the wake of losing his virginity. After the stillbirth of her child, a woman flees from her pursuant nightmares into the arms of her sole blood relative. A boy’s patience is tested and his faith is challenged as he awaits prophecy under the guidance of his mother’s righteous fervor.
These and other tales lay elbow-to-elbow like corpses in a mass grave, offering unique struggles and differing perspectives on the meaning of life, death and the spaces between.
“Anderson’s writing is his own, but you could make comparisons to H. P. Lovecraft in his love for detail and the slowly mounting terror in his stories. There is also a good deal of science fiction in the mix that might make one think of Ray Bradbury for the humanity and Michael Crichton for the tech end of things.” —Brian J. Lewis, Horror Review


I’m a huge fan of horror stories, so when I saw a request from the author to review this book pop up in my mailbox, I simply couldn’t resist. Not only does it have an awesome, fitting cover, the stories inside are pretty awesome too.

Usually with short story collections, they end up being a bit of mixed bag, with some excellent stories, some mediocre ones and one or two that are not so great. With For A Glimpse Beyond The Terminus, none of the stories really fell into the latter category – some stories were excellent, some were mediocre, but there wasn’t a single one that I didn’t like.

“The Midnight Baby” and “Master” were my two favorite stories in the collection. I also really liked the plot of “The Harem Within” and how it was executed. Perhaps my least favorite was “Under and In and So It All Begins”, but several other reviewers mentioned that as their favortie, which just shows you can’t argue with taste.

Author Jordan R. Anderson has the uncanny ability to sketch his character’s personality in a matter of minutes, like a painter bringing a portrait to life in just a few brushstrokes, and he masterfully creates an eerie, unsettling atmosphere in all of his stories.

I just finished this one, and I’m already looking forward to the next collection!

Book Review: Of Life, Death, Aliens and Zombies by Dario Cannizzarro

41gutawb6glTitle: Of Life, Death, Aliens and Zombies
Author: Dario Cannizzaro
Genre: Literary Short Story Collection
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Misnomer on purpose, this amazing debut rocks nine short and amusing stories that talk about life, death (as the title suggests), love, loneliness, art, sex, drugs, culture, religion but also – much less than you would expect – aliens, zombies and much more.

Ordinary characters facing extraordinary situations, dry humor, philosophical musing dressed as whimsical, offhand commentary; those are the key elements for this incredible authorial debut.

The collection comprehends three previously published stories (“The Galway Review”, “Two Thousand Words” and “Chantwood Magazine”); five new unpublished pieces; and for the first time in English, the best-selling story “Impurità”, which was Selected Work in iBooks Italy 2012.

As with any short story collection, Of Life, Death, Aliens and Zombies offers a mix of stories, some excellent, others good. There was not a single story that I thought was bad, though, which speaks volumes for the quality of the collection.

The stories are a mix: they’re about life and death, aliens and zombies (as the title suggests) but they also deal with a lot more, like love, religion, loneliness. The themes are varied and differ in every story. At just over a 100 pages, the collection is a fast read that you can finish in little more than an hour’s time.

One of my favorite stories (it’s hard to pick an exact favorite) was Yet Another Zombie Apocalypse. I love zombie stories, but to see one so completely different from just about every other zombie story out there, was amazing. Another one of my favorites was Terrorism Marketing. It was bizarre, ironic, but also rang sort of true of today’s society. I also enjoyed The Best Place to Plan a Mass Shooting.

The writing is very strong, lyrical, and it’s what carries the stories and lifts them from good to great. I look forward to reading more stories by this author in the future, and I’m very impressed with this collection.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Evil Imminent by Maryann Weston

Evil Imminent frontTitle: Evil Imminent
Author: Maryann Weston
Genre: Horror / Paranormal Short Story Collection
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

A horror/paranormal anthology that lures, grips and exhilarates, leaving the reader demanding more.

‘Normal’ will never be the same after reading Evil Imminent.

In Maryann Weston’s exciting new anthology, mundane becomes extraordinary.

  • Nate is unable to cast off his past;
  • Gabby is devastated by grief;
  • Sal will do whatever it takes;
  • Sybilla’s arrogance leads her to a deadly risk;
  • Dutton’s yearnings become an obsession;
  • Bella is consumed by her disrespect for culture;
  • Michael searches for redemption.

Unresolved dysfunction can have terrifying consequences.

“She fled back through the house and out the front door into the comfort of the suburban street. She gulped in the cool air and focused on one thought. Something had gone wrong. It had gone horribly wrong.”

Is anyone surprised my first read for the new year is a horror collection? Since it’s my favorite genre, I can’t say that I am.

Anyway, Evil Imminent proved to be an interesting collection of short horror stories, and if you ask me, a great read to start the new year. The collection starts out with a short introduction where the author explains the appeal of writing and reading horror. Then starts the first story, “Monsters in the Mist”. The story is about Nate, a single man with an unhealthy relationship with his mother. The construction company he works for just unearthed three bodies, and he witnessed the gruesome discovery. What happens next was definitely surprising and scary – but I won’t spoil it for you. Let’s just say it was my favorite part of the collection, and a great start for the book.

The second story, “The Bonding” talks about Sally who bought a large, historical mansion, rumored to be haunted, and finds out for herself what secrets the mansion harbors. “Love Outlasted” is about Gabby, a woman devastated by grief after her husband went missing in action. This story wasn’t that scary, but it definitely qualified as dark fiction. “Dark Star” is about Dutton’s yearning to find his mother, “Trinity of Terror” talks about an overconfident ghost hunter and what could go wrong by being too arrogant, “On the Edge of Darkness” talks about Bella, who disrespects other cultures and may get punished for doing so, and the collection ends with “From the Book of Redemption”, the story of Michael, who seeks redemption but might never receive it.

The stories are all vastly different, yet they match well together. We get psychological terror as well as supernatural horror. My favorite story, as I mentioned, was “Monsters in the Mist”. My least favorite would be “From the Book of Redemption”, since it wasn’t that scary. Overall, all the stories were enjoyable and they make for an intriguing collection.

Book Review: Antique Charming by Natalie-Nicole Bates

12753184Title: Antique Charming
Author: Natalie-Nicole Bates
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Adult, Short Story
Publisher: Books To Go Now
Publication Date: September 24th 2011
Goodreads | Amazon | Author Website

Third-generation funeral director Lizzie Morton is about to have her dream realized. She has purchased the long abandoned Nichols Funeral Home and its upstairs flat, determined to restore the funeral home to its once former glory. But a late night visitor, Adam Nichols, claims the funeral home still belongs to his family. Lizzie scoffs at his odd behavior and outlandish claims, but when a vintage photograph appears, she soon realizes, to her horror, that Adam Nichols did once own the funeral home more than one hundred years ago and now she has allowed this entity to pass into her home.

Lizzie Morton buys the long abandoned Nichols Funeral Home, one of her life-long dreams coming true. Then one night, a man named Adam Nichols knocks on her door and claims to be the owner of the funeral home. Lizzie is skeptic at first, but after a little investigating on her own, and discovering an old picture of aforementioned Adam Nichols, she comes to a stunning conclusion…

I don’t write a lot of short story reviews. That’s mostly because I don’t tend to read short stories, and if I read them, I don’t normally end up reviewing them. Generally, my reviews tend to be long, but since this is a short story, it will probably be a lot shorter.

Let me start by saying that I enjoyed this story. For a short story specifically, the characters are strong and developed, three-dimensional, with an impressive array of emotions and feelings. Although the story is pretty simple, it did manage to grab me and it pulled me in from start to finish. I very much enjoyed Lizzie’s interactions with Adam, and her own little investigation in to what was going on. I’ve seen a lot of people rage about the length of this book – it is a short story, so if it’s only about 7 pages long, that doesn’t surprise me or annoy me at all. It is what the author meant it to be. Do I see potential in this story to be something more? Yes, of course. But the author meant it to be a short story, not a novel, and not even a novella, so I’m going to review it for what it is and now complain about what it isn’t.

I love short stories that spread out several clues but let the reader come to their own conclusion. Antique Charming does that very well. It lays down the foundations but leaves the conclusion in the middle. I thoroughly enjoyed that, and I wouldn’t mind reading more short stories by Natalie-Nicole Bates. She definitely knows how to write a short story that grabs your attention from the first page and doesn’t let you go. If you want an introduction to the author’s writing, this is it. A must-read both for paranormal romance fans and short story fans.

Book Review: In The Storm by Karen Metcalf

11100954Title: In the Storm
Author: Karen Metcalf
Format: eBook
Genre: Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Young Adult, Short Story
Rating: 4 stars
Review copy provided by the author. Visit the author’s website.
GoodReads | Smashwords | Amazon

Abandoned by the world around her, Carly believes she is fated to a life of torment at the hands of her stepfather and is desperate for an escape. When she can bear the abuse no longer and gives in to a thunderous rage, she suddenly finds herself in an unfamiliar, yet beautiful, storm world. This limbo between dimensions appears to be her private sanctuary, but it may just be her purgatory.

No one escapes fate without sacrifice, but is the price more than Carly is willing to pay?

In The Storm is a short story of roughly 90 pages long. In a gripping display of emotions, our protagonist Carly sketches her life at home, under the ‘care’ of her stepfather Richard – a drunk, abusive and malicious man – and the way she and her younger brother Mitchell try to deal with this in their day-to-day life. When she hears her stepfather coming up the stairs to enter her room in the middle of the night, Carly has had enough. With a clicking sound, she leaves her human body behind to travel to a world beyond our own: an imaginative place only Carly can access, and which is inhabited by her guardian angel. Said angel appears in the form of a gorgeous-looking teenage boy who listens to the name of Morgan. He explains to her the very nature of his place sprung from her imagination, and its purpose, as well as his own purpose. To save her, to make her reach a certain life goal. But Carly has yet to realise that this goal comes at great expense…

For a short story, In The Storm certainly covers a lot of topics, ranging from child abuse, loneliness to fantasy worlds, alternate dimensions, guardian angels and destiny. At some points in the story, I wished the author had chosen to cover less topics, and maybe focus more on explaining some loose ends: for instance, the explanation of the different dimensions left me sort of confused, we never got to know why Carly’s mother left them in the first place, or why Carly gets to have an imaginative world at her dismay, whereas some other children in comparable circumstances (like her brother Mitchell) don’t get one. I wish some of these topics were explained more in detail. And although I could relate to the characters, I would have liked to get to know them better. Therefore, in my opinion, this book would have been better suited as a full-length novel than as a novella, considering the depth and complicity of the story, and the development of the characters.

On the other hand, I have to admit that it was nice reading a short story for once, and briefly blinking in and out the lifes of te main characters. I liked Carly as a person: I thought she had a very strong personality, a lot of courage and a very caring heart for her younger brother. I loved the interactions between Carly and her brother Mitchell, because they were so honest and sweet, and so remarkably loving and caring for people in such abusive circumstances. I wish we had a greater insight in Mitchell’s personality though, because he seemed like an interesting person as well. I also ‘liked’ (since ‘like’ isn’t the appropriate word) the way Karen Metcalf sketched stepfather Richard’s personality. An abusive man who spends more time drunk than sober, with a passion for hurting the children left in his care, and an obsession for sick mind games. Naturelly, I detested his personality, but I do admire the way the author described his personality so well, and really portrayed him as the sick man he was. It isn’t easy to do something lik that, especially not in a novella. But whenever the name ‘Richard’ was mentioned, I felt really sick in the pit of stomach and I got the urge to go hit him on the head with a rather large axe. Mission accomplished, I would say, because I really did hate this guy, who is sort of ‘the villain’ in this story. I would have liked to know more about what exactly made Richard turn into a blazing madman though, because I’m curious like that.

What I absolutely loved about this book, is the world building. The world Carly creates from her imagination, the world she can only access once something inside of her goes CLICK, is simply amazing. The way Karen Metcalf describes the looks and feel of this world, the way she makes the giant trees come to live, and the way she makes the storm so vivid and terrifying as if they were real, is very impressive. I also loved the entire background story about why this world was created, and why one can only access it now and then, and the story about Carly’s other lifes, her previous lifes, and her connection with the supposed-to-be’s. I thought these notions were very original, well thought-through, and they got me to do a fair share of thinking myself. Although a fantasy story at the core, I believed the basic ideas to be rather realistic and perhaps even plausible. Who knows where the feeling of déjà-vu really comes from, and who knows there aren’t a ton of other us’s out there, living the exact same life as we have – or something slightly different – in other dimensions? I know that these thoughts crossed my mind before when I was younger and in the whole doubting-life-and-everything-in-it phase, but I outgrew this as I grew older. I’m glad this book reminded me of this, as it’s really an interesting subject matter to think about. Who knows? Maybe in some other life, I’m Queen of the World and everyone bows down for me. Now that would be something.

I also liked the addition of ‘destiny’ and ‘fate’ in this novel, as it was ultimately destiny that brought the characters to where they were, and that no matter how many times Carly’s guardian angel Morgan, had tried to alter the course of destiny; he eventually failed every time. I thought the idea of a world based on our own choice or opinions but ultimately determined by a fixed destiny, was very appealing and intriguing.

It still surprises me how much originality, character development, topics and themes and great life-altering questions Karen Metcalf managed to address in this less-than-one-hour-long read. It leaves me yet again with the thought that this novella could have been life-changing and the next best thing in YA fantasy, had it been longer, and had the topics been covered more thoroughly. I have to hope that Karen Metcalf decides to write a sequel to In The Storm, because this is a story truly deserving of a sequel; and I cannot wait to read more about Carly and Morgan, as their entwined destinies enfold. An excellent read, that I would recommend to every fan of Young Adult Fantasy novels, or even just Fantasy novels, or to everyone who has an hour to spare and wants to read something fresh and original. Try In The Storm – it will not dissapoint.