A great and diverse collection of stories, all from the “gentler” sex! Ha Billie Sue Mosiman is an artist in her own right, a brilliant one too, but here she gathers some amazing women to scare the socks of you.
Little Bios of the ladies post each story, which was lovely, this is packed full of scares.
Constance Craving by Raven Dane: When Constance is forced into going on a bible thumpers Sunday outing by her mother the day does not go as planned, nor is it as boring as she thought. Trailed by some unseen monster the tension and build up were very atmospheric in RD s decorative prose. As the story reveals its twist I was genuinely surprised at her choice of monster and what became of Constance. A great start to an anthology.
Goblin Box by Hilary Lyon: Linda is a self-obsessed, must get “one up” on her friends type of woman, not pleasant in any way, perfectly set up by HL in her introductory scene. One of her “finds” is a cute little Jack in the Box, a unique addition to collection of oddities to show off. After one if her many off parties Linda appears to have a change of personality and is cornered into playing the truth game with her strange neighbour. The consequences are weird and wonderful, the writing so easy to read and I thought the twisty ending was just perfect.
Tintype by Elizabeth Massie: Set just past the American civil war a young soldier, Oliver, struggles with the nightmares that he brought back from his PoW camp. He has focused his life into a search, for a Dr who gave him an impossible choice. Both revolting and riveting to say I enjoyed the story would make me weird but hey ho! I liked how EM brought her characters to fullness with only brief description of them. Sharp and short, another perfect addition to this anthology.
The Whole of the Widens of the Night by Nina Kiriki Hoffman: Lizzie has three older brothers who just love to hear her scream, steal from and generally be cruel too. Her parents are no help or salvation. One weekend the carnival comes and Lizzie agrees to swap her much loved protection stone for a scare her brothers will never forget. Cue weirdness! Up until the spell this was a sad and uncomfy story, then bam the terror hits. NK did well to evoke such sadness.
Snow Angel by Amy Grech: Little Suzy is special, but special enough to be a snow Angel?? A heart rending decision by parents for a beloved child. At first read I couldn’t understand why this story was in this collection, but not all horror is splat and gore, this has a gentle, niggly horror.
Secrets of the Sargasso by Morgan Griffith: Kasey has a birth defect or is it a blessed piece of de/evolution that has shaped her life. On one of her searches for treasure she goes looking in the depths of the ocean for a rare, possibly non-existent artefact. Instead she opens a portal…… monsters and emotions a beautiful mix of writing.
The Ouroborus Bite by Marie Victoria Robertson: Elsebeth is teaching Carmen a spell, that of no fear, but we should be careful what we wish for. MVR sculptors her story well to gradually build the tension and fear.
Here I Lie by Lorraine Versini: A tale of revenge but so fast paced I could feel my brain making ooooh and argh sounds, LV draws on some primal fears, fabulous!
Sakura Time by Loran Rhoads: Set in Japan, this pulls on the culture of doll collecting, linking in sexual abuse and shattered souls. A riveting, enthralling and terrifying story I loved how it was written, definately my favourite story this anthology.
Promises, Bliss and Lies by Rose Blaxkthorn: In a future or alien world a girl is kept captive, as the story unfolds memories surface and the world she lives in are exposed. Enjoyed all they fantasy building but felt a little lost at the end, wanted more.
Dead Messengers by Lucy Taylor: A tale of black magic, sex and murder. A bit too intense and foreign for my liking but gripping nonetheless.
Peguses by Myra Buck: There is usually one story you don’t gel with in an anthology and this was it I’m afraid, I did not fully get the plot for or the circumstance but that’s the joy of anthologies, move on.
Backside by K L Napppier: Reincarnation seems to be the topic, but unsure on the ending. Another story I did not gel with.
City Girl by Kathryn Ptacek: Didn’t connect with this story, again, I kept waiting for it to start and then it sorted of fizzled out for me.
What Storms Bring by KC Grifant: A haunting tale of a woman losing herself, filled with beautiful imagery this is juxtaposed with the terror of what is happening. A real blast back in to the book for me.
Third Times a Charm by Tonia Brown: A young boy has nightmares post his birthday wish to meet G’ma, scary in itself is the love between mother and son that haunted me with all that occurs at a horrid little ending.
Ballerina by Sandra Dobereiner: Another strange and sad tale about talking curtains basically, but this little story has stayed with me for days. I found it odd when I read it, but it has wiggled under my skin and stayed there.
One dark hour before dawn by Mary Ann Peden-Coviello: The zompoc arrives as one desperate woman and her faithful pup try to get the children to safety. Mixed in amongst the normal horror that is the zompoc MAPC breaks your heart with the love shown. The horror is two-fold for me, the gore and the impending doom you know is coming. Fabulous in an awful way.
Sin by C.W.Lesart: A mans final attempt at absolution for a childhood prank gone wrong. Slowly building using the information surrounding the deed, the tension unfolding slowly, the real horror comes in the last few paragraphs for me as CWL describes the “man” at the window.
Sense Deprived by Kristal Stittel: What a strange yet beautiful story. Telepathic women awaken from a vegetative state to aid in a war. The outcome is wonderful and KS describes some powerful emotions and stimuli wonderfully gently.