Book Review: ‘Miss Abigail’s Room’ by Catherine Cavendish

A beautifully dark novella.

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Catherine Cavendish Miss Abigails Room‘Miss Abigail’s Room’ is a Victorian Gothic mystery suspense story embellished with some gloriously macabre moments. The author builds the suspense steadily, creating tension that is almost palpable by the end of the book. The reader’s suspicions grow alongside those of Becky, the main character, but the ending of the book still comes with a surprising twist that, in keeping with the conventions of gothic horror, leaves the reader both shocked and satisfied.

I really enjoyed the way in which the author depicted life both “upstairs” and “downstairs” in the house, and the ways in which the different threads of the story were woven together to create one complex, elegantly constructed story.

To craft a story that is reminiscent of Poe, Dickens and Downton Abbey at the same time is quite an achievement.Acorn Award I Golden

Well worth reading, this beautifully dark novella has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Summer Of My Enlightenment’ by Kristy Dark

A well-written and complex psychological thriller.

51pGX1V5G5L‘The Summer of My Enlightenment’ is , on one level, the story of Angela and her search for meaning and fulfilment after a tragic event, but it’s also an interesting study of the nature of obsession, infatuation and narcissism and the danger that exists when they interact.

There is so much I could say about my anger toward particular characters, and my desire to see them suffer some consequences for their actions, but I don’t want to give any spoilers. Be prepared, though, for some strong emotional responses as the story unfolds. And if mind games and manipulation are trigger points for you, it’s probably best to choose a different book.

A well-written and complex psychological thriller, this book certainly kept me guessing. There was suspense and frustration aplenty, and there were numerous surprises and twists along the way. Both of the central characters are flawed and conflicted, which often makes a reader sympathetic to one or both of them, which others very well may be; however, I found it hard to warm to either of them. This certainly added an extra layer of “chiller to the thriller” for me, but also added to my frustration because there was a large degree of dramatic irony involved in my reading of the story.Acorn Award II Silver

I have awarded this book a Silver Acorn because it ticked all the “dark fiction” and “suspense” boxes, but left this reader somewhat dissatisfied at the end.

Find your copy here.

New Release: A Poet’s Curse

A new collection of dark poetry that delivers justice in its most poetic form.

A Poets Curse eBook 6x9People often say, “Never annoy a writer. She will put you in a book and kill you.”
These poems don’t kill anyone, but they leave the reader in no doubt whatsoever of  the poet’s feelings.

Uncomfortable truths, observations about life, and unashamedly honest responses to hateful people make this collection of poems highly relatable and deeply, darkly satisfying.

They say there is a special place in hell reserved for those who prey on others.
Until then, there is A Poet’s Curse.

Book Review: ‘Flash of Darkness’ by Toneye Eyenot

A fascinating study of evil.

Toneye Eyenot Flash of Darkness‘Flash of Darkness’ delivers a series of fascinating vignettes that give the reader glimpses into the nature of evil. It’s both thought-provoking and chilling in the portrayal of evil as rational and reasoned in the minds of the beings that do its will. These stories are beautifully written, with vivid imagery and a dark eloquence that really enhances the themes and key ideas of the stories. At times macabre, at other times reflective and morose, this is a book that enables the reader to look at life through a darker lens.
Acorn Award I Golden

I have awarded this book a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Feral’ by Lucretia Stanhope

‘Feral’ keeps the reader wondering and guessing from start to finish.

Lucretia Stanhope PPK 2 FeralIn this sequel to ‘Tainted Waters’, Alice has moved into the next phase of her life as a Paranormal Peace Keeper. Although reconciled to her heritage, she still has many questions about who and what she really is, and where her value lies as both an individual and as part of the organisation to which she belongs.

Those questions continue to plague her as she undertakes her most challenging mission yet, with a new partner who poses problems of his own for our protagonist. who still struggles to come to terms with her lifelong issues with trust and belonging. As with the first book, Alice has to make choices where there is no good option, and then work to make those choices turn out for the best. This is one of the elements of these books that I really appreciate – life isn’t straightforward or easy for most people, and the turmoil that Alice experiences at times is something that I can really relate to.

Stanhope is a master of juxtaposing light and dark, and fear and trust, in a way that adds depth to both the characters and the plot as the story unfolds. As with ‘Tainted Waters’, ‘Feral’ keeps the reader wondering and guessing from start to finish.
I found this to be an intriguing and enjoyable read – so much so that I didn’t want to put it down.
Acorn Award I Golden

‘Feral’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence in storytelling.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Necrozmancy: A Short Horror Story’ by Lucretia Stanhope

A delightfully gory and subversive parody of the classic Wizard of Oz story.

Lucretia Stanhope Necrozmancy

A delightfully gory and subversive parody of the classic Wizard of Oz story, ‘Necrozmancy’ is a short read that can be enjoyed in less than an hour.

The characters are darker and more sinister than in the original tale, and yet I prefer them this way. I always enjoy the opportunity to see how things end up differently when characters take an alternative path, and Stanhope’s reinvention of Dorothy and Toto in particular is magnificent.

This story is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, but lovers of the macabre and horrific will certainly enjoy it.

Acorn Award I Golden
Because it tickled both my funny bone and my dark side, I have awarded it a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Hades’ Gate’ by D.J. Doyle

I thoroughly enjoyed this grim little horror short.

DJ Doyle Hades Gate

This is an excellent short story. Doyle has done an excellent job of building the suspense and the reader’s awareness of the sinister before making them gasp and recoil as the action heats up.

The characters are all very believable, and will remind the reader of people – or, at least, types of people – they know. Their banter and conversations draw the reader in, building familiarity with the characters so that by the time the story really gets going, the reader has an emotional investment in their wellbeing and fate. This heightens the tension as the story develops, and increases the impact of the climax of the story.
Acorn Award I Golden

I thoroughly enjoyed this grim little horror short, and have awarded it a Gold Acorn.

Get your copy here.