A Picture is Worth … (AK)

Dark City by Catherine Lee is a free book I received through the author’s website. There was no monetary incentive given to write this review but I think it’s good to review a book the author has provided for free.

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A Heartwarming Fairy Tale

This is a short story I purchased from Amazon at the price of USD 0.99. The Amazon book preview promised I would be hooked from the very first line. The first line of the preview hooked me. It was not the first line of the story, however.

The story is told in 48 pages. The reader will suspect the “terrible secret” within the first few pages. But most readers will not predict the rather surprising, unpredictable ending.

At age sixteen, it is Amara’s turn to go through the medical screening that will allow her to qualify for confirmation, an event that will mark her transition to an adult life. No longer will she be locked up with her sisters to await a time when she can go out in public, perhaps even to dance. She would like to dance with Hunter, a guardsman she might fall in love with if she could get past the very physical restrictions on a person not yet sixteen. It was an inappropriate relationship between a princess and a guardsman but it was better than the complete lack of relationships she had experienced up to now.

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That Funny Feeling …

As I get back into the daily blog routine after a somewhat disastrous trip to Thailand to obtain a visa for my continued stay in Indonesia, I want to take a few posts to remark on and review some work I am finding on authors’ mailing lists. My initial take is there are a lot of Independents putting work out through mailing lists and sites such as INSTAFREEBIE. I think that makes the authors automatically interesting and innovative. Yes, there might be dross, but I bet there is a lot of good stuff. And I am about to find out.

The Chans by Em Shotwell is a short story probably written to get readers interested in the author’s Blackbird Series. This short story (38 pages) sells for USD0.99 through Amazon. It has had seven favorable reviews. The first one mentions that this prequel is available for free. I missed the opportunity to get it free from Amazon but got it free anyway from the author’s mailing list.

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Not So Scary Stories

Short Scary Stories by Bruce Savage is a 98-page collection of short stories available for USD 0.99 from Amazon. I feel comfortable investing such a small amount for what could be an entertaining collection of short stories. I am looking for short reads to encourage others to develop an interest in reading. Now, on to see if my investment was justified.

A spoiler alert of the review, not of the short story: If you are a student in one of my classes, proceed to my last paragraph which is followed by a final sentence. See if you come up with the same conclusion I did as far as numbers.

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Short Story Writers Take Note

A Human Stain by Kelly Robson is a 37-page horror novelette (novella?) with a unique writing style. Helen is a companion recruited by Barchen Lambrecht, a person we can assume to be one of the dissolute hanger-on nobility types. Lambrecht has a castle or at least an almost castle. A few more turrets might fulfill the requirements of the definition. Peter, a child who is Lambrecht’s ward lives in the castle with a nanny and two other servants. But Lambrecht needs something more for young Peter, he needs a governess who can also teach Peter things like reading, writing, and languages. Peter might be six or seven years old; he has yet to learn the order of the alphabet.

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Udderly Terrifying

Cows! by Matt Shaw is a short 43-page horror story, something you can read with your morning coffee if you want to start your day from a rather different starting line. The title tells the story of the threat. Cows are going to do some horrible and terrible things to whatever hero figures we have. The question is: Why will they do it? What has caused cows to go rogue?

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50 Short Horror Stories

The first remarkable thing about Small Horrors: A Collection of Fifty Creepy Stories by Darcy Coates is that this author is the writer of all fifty short stories; stories that vary in content and endings. It would seem that the endings would become predictable. Somewhere after story number twenty, for example, the reader would be able to predict how the next one would end after reading the first couple of sentences. Nope, that did not happen. Every story is fresh, some end with a sudden, surprising stop in a way that I did not see coming. Some end in a mild, pleasant conclusion; there is a twist, but not a shock. All are only two to four pages long and I am going to accept a frequently heard writer’s complaint; short stories are hard to write. Where is the room for any character development? Coates carries this off well in this 364-page collection of fifty stories. The stories were published over time and this collection came from different published sources by Coates. That does not diminish the quality of the work. This collection was made available in December 2016 on Amazon and I read it for free with my KU subscription.

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