Posting two pieces of business, today: A new book review (meaning a new review of a book that is also new), and the giveaway prize announcement we’ve all be waiting for (“we all” being… me plus some other people, I can only hope)! Jumping right into the action…
The Book: “Shades and Shadows: A Paranormal Anthology” edited by Terri Wagner and Jessica Shen, through Xchyler Publishing.
Genre: Paranormal Anthology.
Blurb: (Goodreads description)
In the dead of night, you sense something . . . other . . . beyond your sight, out there in the darkness. You feel a breath upon your neck, cold and clammy, fecund with mold and decay. Your hair stands on end from no random chill. The air is still. No one is there.
Travel with nine talented writers into their paranormal world, but don’t disregard that inkling that niggles somewhere in the pit of your stomach to leave the light on, to shun that dark room, and to pull the covers over your head.
Whatever you do, don’t look under the bed.
The Music Man (Eric White): Peter Hold must face his personal bogeyman and right a terrible wrong . . . and find the key to laying his childhood demon to rest.
China Doll (Ginger C. Mann): Kris discovers deep secrets about her family as she pays the price to repair her beloved china doll.
Split Ends (Scott William Taylor): Frank and Bets open up a whole new realm of possibility when they test the boundaries of their platonic friendship.
Child of the Underworld (Marian Rosarum): Lara escapes her mother’s bleak realm but must decide which she more craves: food for her belly or love for her soul.
Cost of Custody (R.M. Ridley): Jonathan Alvey helps estranged parents create magic to rescue their daughter from a terrible fate.
Tombstone (Scott E. Tarbet): A stubborn old farmer defies the oilmen, his family, and the odds to save his homestead from the ravages of progress.
Ghost Townies (E. Branden Hart): The ghost apocalypse send Dean and Jimbo on the run, armed with only their flashlights, their wits, and dumb luck.
Crossroads (Neve Talbot): Rob Daniels must choose the direction of his life. Can his dead brother keep him on the straight and narrow?
The Death of Dr. Marcus Wells (J. Aurel Guay): Tormented by his tragic past, this young medical resident finds the inner strength to save London from a rash of gruesome murders.
My Thoughts: I received an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review. (A fair trade, said I.) A reader who tends to favor novel-length works over short stories, I always wonder when cracking open a new anthology whether I’ll find anything among the collection that appeals to me, and how the book’s hits and misses will stack up against one another by the end. In the case of “Shades and Shadows”, my overall impression is: The hits win.
Pretty much all of the stories managed to elicit the ol’ “feels” in one part of me or another. While, as expected, some pieces didn’t grab me as others did, especial favorites included Scott E. Tarbet’s “Tombstone” (loved the old farmer’s narrative voice), R.M. Ridley’s “Cost of Custody” (a P.I. adventure that had my adrenaline going), and Neve Talbot’s “Crossroads” (which I started out thinking I’d dislike, due to the protagonist’s attitude about his family, but ended up absolutely sucked in).
Tossing in a couple more shout-outs, “Ghost Townies” was good for its intended chuckle, and just when I was thinking “The Music Man” wasn’t going to do it for me, the story cruised on past my expectations and went to a place that had me going, “Now we’re talkin’!” Meanwhile, “The Death of Dr. Marcus Wells” read like it could have been the pilot for a cool, uncanny drama on TV.
HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): All told, I’d say it’s worth the read, particularly if you’re craving a ghost story to be enjoyed in a few quick bites.
The anthology’s launch party is coming to Facebook on Thursday – aka, through no coincidence, Halloween. I intend to join in the celebration, congratulate the authors on their projects’ release, maybe try my luck at winning a prize or two… We’d all love to see you over there, so drop by if you get the chance!
And speaking of prizes, it’s time to announce the winners of my “Inspired” Journal Giveaway!” Listed in the order of which of the seven journals they won (1 gets Journal #One, 2 gets Journal #2, etc.), the winners are:
1 = Marissa Halvorson!
2 = Kim Matura!
3 = Laure Estep!
4 = Miranda McNeff!
5 = Aisazia!
6 = Kimberly Kay!
7 = Tyler-Rose Counts!
Huzzah to all of you! I’ll be in touch to make sure I get your shipping information so you can each receive your journal and signed “Inspired” bookmark. Thanks for playing along, and try not to explode with impatience – only a few more months ‘til the novel’s release!