Short Story Press Presents Valeries Tale
However, while going through some of her things he finds letters to another man. She had an affair and since hers was first then he's off the hook! Blackbird's Breath - 2 Stars I'm not sure what the blackbird is supposed to represent, exactly. It reminds me a bit of Poe's celebrated Raven although this bird doesn't speak, just chirps. If it's a punishment of some sort there doesn't seem to be much cause for it.
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Desolate - 4 Stars A creepy story about a particularly nasty form of addiction. Lost in the Woods - 3 Stars The emotional parts are very successful. They felt so real and touching. I also liked the idea of it. Lost in the Woods had a very 'Orpheus' feel to it. At the end it devolves into a rather disappointing typical horror tale.
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It could have been so much more. Final Breaths - 4 Stars Another parent's worst nightmare. If you have a hard time reading about prolonged hospital scenes this story will cut you to the heart. Again the emotions and realism are done so well that the supernatural elements almost seem out of place.
I actually think the story would work just as well without them, if not better. Closer - 2 Stars I could see where it was going very early on. That's not exactly a flaw but so much of it just doesn't make sense. The character's inner monologue is very realistic and again, the emotions, thoughts and feelings of the character are well done. My issues with it are the total flip in the character's inner morals which seems a bit extreme to be believable.
The end is also a bit confusing. It seems throughout that they're in the woods, then it's revealed they're in a city or perhaps suburb ad it destroys the credibility the story had. I was really torn whether to give this a 3 or a 4. I did like it. It's very realism was horrific but the end was abrupt and incomplete.
It left me feeling dissatisfied because again, it could have been so much more and I think the author has the talent to bring it to a satisfactory end.
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Pirouette - 4 Stars Another excellently portrayed glimpse of a fractured family unit and not marred by any forced supernatural trappings. It is what it is and it is a great story. It had an interesting point of view on a serial killer. I would have given it 5 stars but for one flaw. It may seem harsh but it's huge to me. But rather than use it she's 'too terrified' and it sits uselessly in her lap.
It gives our Hero of the story opportunity to act but it makes no sense.realtours360.com/img
Sea Lovers by Valerie Martin
The absence of the gun would still have given the Hero a chance to act and at the same time not make it look like the woman has no self-preservation whatsoever. As a side note, I loved who the Hero turned out to be and actually makes me feel a little bad for squishing all of the spiders who have met their untimely end under my shoe. Yes, you sneaky little author, I caught it.
A very good story and also a little sad. Breathing Cave - 4 Stars I almost get the feeling that perhaps this started out as a different story and evolved into what it became. Which is still a very good horror tale. There is one small blooper that I can't help but mention because the author may want to fix it. I'm not going to hide it because it's not integral to the plot. The lead female character's boyfriend is using his phone for light.
He says it's barely charged and shortly after blacks out, going dead. Yet, somehow, a moment later she finds it in the dark If I somehow misunderstood the author's intentions there I will gladly correct my interpretation of it. Soul Tapped - 2 Stars I really wanted to like it as I love a good ghost story.
However, the entity was easy to guess and there were quite a few things that just seemed improbable in the real world. The Water People - 3 Stars Could have been much better if it were a shade longer. It would give a bit more background on the creatures and their motivations. There was also a nice bit of snake physiology in there that a lot of authors overlook. Evolved - 3 Stars It was a good story but again, a bit more detail would have been helpful.
It reminded me a bit of a Lovecraft story mixed with a Robert E. Howard story. Not in the larger story, that was pretty clear but with the 'witch' and her house. It reminded me a bit of a more evil Howl's Moving Castle. Intrepid space explorers run into non-alien lifeforms n another planet. Parasite - 3 Stars 4 Stars for those of you that like bugs in the body It was well-written and gross. Gross in a good way for those people that like creatures in the body stories. It tried a bit too hard for the humor and was just blah.
What did the ring have to do with anything? Would everyone really be such jerks about the guy's weight? Also, I think an easier way to take a ring off would be to get a jeweler to cut it off, but that's just me. It also has an afterword at the end by the author about how he got the ideas.
I didn't want to read it until I had done the reviews. I didn't want them to color my opinions. The comments on 'Final Breaths' and 'Lost in the Woods' were very touching. From the emotional depth in those stories I wondered if the author was drawing on personal experience. I would also like to say that his original idea for Soul Tapped sounds like it would be a funny idea for a story, please, please make it!
The book had no typos or grammar issues. I thought it was a great collection. The stories I thought were excellent more than made up for the few I didn't like. And other people might like those more than I do. Received from the author for an honest review Apr 29, The Grim Reader rated it really liked it.
Some good, some great and some that are just okay. So, where does Embers by Kenneth W. Cain sit? Well, Crystal Lake Publishing very rarely drop the ball with their releases. They are one such publisher I know I am going to get a quality read from more often than not. Their books always have great cover art and are presented in a professional manner with good editing and formatting.
Things get off to a great start with Chamber. This is a story set after the second world war. In this tale, something lurks within the darkness of a gas chamber and a soldier haunted by his past returns and comes face-to-face with an unimaginable, supernatural horror. I thought this story was very good.
And so things continue with some good and some excellent short stories. There are tales with strong Lovecraft influences, a little Ray Bradbury here and there and even a sprinkling of Poe. Towards the end of the collection I found myself really enjoying Breathing Cave, a claustrophobic story if ever there was one and The Bad Men, which is a nice mix of science fiction and horror. Overall, most of the stories in the book elicited some sort of positive response from me. A really good collection overall. For readers who haven't encountered Mr. Cain, here is a wonderful introduction.
Prepare for the stretching of your mind and the expansion of your imagination as Kenneth W. Cain boldly goes into unexplored territory, sometimes speculative, other times horrific, but always enlightening. My recommendation is sample one story at a time, taking time to savor the enjoyment or to reel from the horror; then let the story sink in. Apr 10, S. Budd rated it it was amazing. I have to say I was really impressed at the size of this collection, 25 short stories, you are definitely getting your moneys worth.
I first discovered Embers by Kenneth W. Cain as I'm a really big fan of Crystal Lake Publishing. Previously they have release some great horror short story anthologies such as Gutted which contains stories from Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell and Kevin Lucia. Crystal Lake have also released some really great original novels such as Pretty Little Dead Girls I have to say I was really impressed at the size of this collection, 25 short stories, you are definitely getting your moneys worth.
They have also branched out into non-fiction with horror writing guides which have been incredibly helpful over the years. So when I saw this I was eager to take a look. Looking at the beginning pages it is clear this is no novice writer he's had countless other things published in various genres.
The first tale, The Chamber, was just so dark and chilling I knew this would be a great read. A very strong story to open the collection with. What makes his work scary is that he takes normal everyday situations with characters just like you and me and twists them into something horrific. These are tales that really could happen to anyone.
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There is a lot of depth to these tales, such as Final Breath, there's an extraordinary range of genres and topics used, some are like love stories with a dark twist, some are psychological, some are gory, there's plenty of monsters thrown in as well as those less known. Some are just downright scary and there's some very clever takes on familiar tropes. These are tales that will scare everyone, they're not all about monsters but some of the more real life down to earth horrors we will all face, such as loss of a loved one, beginning your life again, falling in love with the wrong person.
As there are 25 stories I'll just highlight my favourite ones. Valerie's Window - A really dark sinister tale amplified from the perspective of the young naive girl, Valerie. A window to dream by - I just thought this was a really clever tale, particularly with the connection of the homeless guys who watch Seth looking up into the sky.
It's only right until the end where you get the whole hit of the story and it's a great ending. Closer - Travis goes hunting with his estranged father in a bid to win his approval but he's never been able to pull the trigger. Killing just isn't in his nature. Breathing Cave - Kelly goes on a trip with her new boyfriend and his friends. They pass a cave, Kelly doesn't want to enter but doesn't want to lose face in front of her new friends. Blackbird's Breath - Henry is trying to come to terms with his loss until a blackbird gets stuck behind his fireplace.
Mar 31, Noelle Kelly rated it really liked it. 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! 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. 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 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. Mar 31, Nev Murray rated it it was amazing Shelves: read , short-story-collections , confessions-comp , There is such a variety of stories in here that there will definitely be something for everyone in it. Mar 31, Paula rated it it was amazing. An outstanding collection of short stories, you can check out my full review here Apr 03, Eddie Generous rated it really liked it.
Here goes. However, the weights of the two were far from fifty-fifty.
A Tale for All Seasons
For the most part, Embers is horror on a rollercoaster. The thrills are frequent and often Cain stretched the climax along for multiple pages. At times, this collection is bloody, at times grim, at times heart wrenching and at its best, it brings forth a fine tact in jarring finales. Gone is the classic lost family member and supernatural odds stacked against a parent, done so perfectly. Closer is a slow burn, with a hell of an ending. Water Snake was a monstrous thrill ride. The Benefit of Being Weighty is pure ghastly fun. Embers is a collection that strolls into every corner of horror to gather bits before running them through the spin cycle, dial set to dread.
There are recurring themes in this collection: deteriorated relationships are a big one, and bird motifs are another and in "Flocking Birds," you get both. There are a few weak spots as with any story collection--a few soft or abrupt endings--but by and large, Cain has a solid body of work here. Monsters, or simply the normal world? It's never clear, but if you're familiar with some of the past decade's kidnapping-related news stories, this is especially creepy. Terrific twist ending!
Even if she has tentacles. Especially if she has tentacles. Altogether, these stories made for a good unsettling read. Highly recommended! Review copy. May 21, T. Righteous Read Horrifying, spine chilling, deathly dark!
Sea Lovers by Valerie Martin
Everything who love horror craves. When you reach the end of this book, your soul desires more from this author! Recommend read. Apr 14, A. Embers is a well-constructed and put together collection of horror stories from Kenneth W. Cain that marks another quality release from Crystal Lake Publishing. Apr 06, Debbi Smith rated it it was amazing. An eclectic collection of stories that are best served on a dark, quiet night. I'm looking forward to more from Kenneth W.
Oh yea, leave the lights on. As an anthology, this book has what, at first glance, very different story lines. However, as I read through the stories, what struck me was the loss of a family member. Usually a spouse. Sometimes a parent, sometimes a child, but with loss nonetheless. It has occurred to me that perhaps to every reader this is the most horrible thing that can happen in their lives.
Who wants to see a family member die, and in the horrible ways that Mr. Cain has come up with? This is, based on the most extreme ho As an anthology, this book has what, at first glance, very different story lines. This is, based on the most extreme horror people can face, actually what it says on the cover: a collection of dark fiction. And very dark it can be. Different worlds where humans have to live, weather phenomena, monsters, every thing dark in the genre. However, they do touch on my very deepest fears: caves, crabs I was literally cornered by a crab when I was 12 or so until my auntie came to my rescue.
I am not kidding when I say that crab fed three of us until bursting , slime, and birds to mention a few. Although Goodreads shows me as starting this book in March, I actually read it in one fell swoop on April 3rd. I give it five stars for the creep factor. May 06, Darrell rated it liked it Shelves: reviewed. Christopher Lloyd : "Having this kind of role is something you don't get on network. To me, this show has much more of a feel of shooting an independent film in the way it's being directed and shot and the time that is being taken. Independent films call on actors to play roles they wouldn't normally get from a major studio or major network.
You become pigeonholed in the type of work you've done before, which establishes the kind of role they'll offer you in the future. This kind of gives me a chance to break out and do something different. This is not a comedy. I'm not playing a funny role or some funny kook. He's a little weird, but he's serious. It gives me that opportunity.
As far as if anything will come of it in terms of more work in that line, it remains to be seen I really like what they're doing here. It's very ambitious. I like that each episode is not connected to the one before. They're all separate stories with a separate cast and a different director. I think that's great. Tyron Leitso : "I had no idea who Clive Barker was. No idea at all. I actually thought, when Mick told me about Clive, that this was a writer who had passed away and this was one of his works that they were finally allowed to use because he'd been dead for so many years.
Tony Todd : "It's difficult.
As I'm reading, I'm going 'Where's the hook? Where's the life of this guy? If you think of it like the dark side, the midnight madness thing, then I have to ground that in some sort of reality. What I have going for me is that I love this other fictitious character.
The only way that we can bring ourselves into existence is fighting back. So, I have two things to play: I need to convince Valerie we need to be on our own, and I need to continually re-affirm my love for her, albeit done in demonic ways by killing people, breaking their necks, but it's all about her.
You still get the maniacal stuff, but hopefully you get the subtle irony. If you've ever seen any of Clive Barker's paintings, I feel like I'm a living embodiment of those paintings. Tony Todd : "[Othakeye]'s not abusive, first of all. He's in love with this woman. He's a romantic tortured soul and that could apply to anybody. You may not get it until the end, but because I'm playing a through-line, every moment I have with Valerie is totally about love and obsession - maybe an overwhelming obsession, too much love; I don't know how to do it right.
Clare Grant : "I'm glad to be working on this. I knew all of [Garris'] Stephen King work, certainly. That was actually what kind of sealed the deal for me in terms of wanting this role. Christopher Lloyd : "I feel there's a seriousness about it. Because the only way this particular script can work is if all the characters and the actors playing them take everything very seriously. These are people who create a reality that gets out of control. You have to play the honesty of that. It would be easy to do a send-up, but they're truly scared; this is a serious situation.
Review : "Without question, this is the best Mick Garris movie I've ever seen, but I didn't start this review with a preamble about Mick's filmic history for nothing. I'm fully aware of how low a compliment like "Best ever" can apply to Mick. But if you've seen Mick's 'Desperation' and if not, you should , then you know that he might be finally hitting his stride. For too long Mick has been known to writers as "the Nice Guy" in Hollywood.
It's even an inside joke with Mick to the point where he gave that name to his company Mick runs the horror full force, letting it build, frighten, and disgust. At the same time he achieves the dreamlike state of a Clive Barker story that we can usually only read about. Valerie on The Stairs isn't just Mick's best, it's one of the best of the series. McMullen Jr. Review : "Valerie on the Stairs marks the second episode directed by Mick Garris, and it improves on Chocolate. While the latter was an entertaining thriller, it had more in common with The Twilight Zone than Tales from the Darkside.
Valerie is a darker, gorier, more confident trip, full of familiar horror elements. The shadowy stairs. The hidden room. The buried secret. Garris assembles the story lovingly, working off a story from Clive Barker, whose tales always have a vicious carnal touch. As Rob discovers more about the relationship between Valerie and the beast, he realizes that the source of the two entities may lie in the house itself. Considering how many writers have traveled through, and how much imagination has become pent-up in the walls, is it conceivable that these two characters are just that?
Stuck, waiting for an ending? Elegant movies like New Nightmare and In the Mouth of Madness played with the idea of fictional boogeymen becoming real. As in those films, Valerie suggests that the horrible situation on display is the result of desperate writers and their hackneyed stories. Rob wants to save Valerie, but if she's just a pulsing representation of someone's story, what is he saving her from? And what for? There's no telling where the boundaries of reality and illusion hit The paradox is that while I grew interested by the question of reality, I became less involved emotionally, because the people felt like puppets on strings.
The twist here is that the demon wants to break free of those strings and assert himself. That element saves the story from falling apart, and keeps it moving toward a seriously weird ending.
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In some sense this is foreshadowing, as the ultimate conclusion would have made the episode feel right at home aside that classic series. The problem with Valerie on the Stairs is getting to that conclusion - a conclusion that I might add is offered as speculation from yet another of the tenants this time portrayed by Christopher Lloyd. In a lot of ways Lloyd's deduction is as necessary to clarify the climax as it is frustrating, in that it gives away a fairly innovative turn of events. Plenty of the denizens are annoying - as they are meant to be - but Leitso seems to be the most ineffectual one of them all.