Ugh. I hate to give an Anna Campbell book less than four stars. I think I was just underwhelmed. I mean, this is like one of my fave themes, spinsterUgh. I hate to give an Anna Campbell book less than four stars. I think I was just underwhelmed. I mean, this is like one of my fave themes, spinster and rogue. But I didn't get as involved emotionally with this story. It's a pretty good short Christmas romance, that I expected to like this more than I did. Don't get me wrong. Erskine has had a thing for Phillipa since they first met, intrigued by this quiet wallflower. Phillipa looks down her nose at Erskine because he's a notorious rake. Apparently her sister wrote a steamy letter to him, and Phillipa enters the tiger's lair to get it back, but ends up locked in a cupboard with him, leading to a compromising position. Marriage is required, and Erskine is actually looking forward to it. That sounds pretty scrumptious. But it didn't come off as well as I expected.
I think I wasn't in the mood for such a self-deprecating heroine. She wouldn't believe that Erskine was into her! While I can understand the reasons for her low self-esteem, I wish she had made the most of having such a sexy hubby who couldn't get enough of her instead of being so 'woe is me'. That brings me to another area that I was disappointed. Usually Campbell rocks the love scenes. These weren't quite as sizzling as she typically manages. Maybe I just wasn't feeling it when I read this.
I admit it might be my mood right now. I'm still grieving and adjusting to things right now, so that does impact you when you are trying to focus on a book. I will try to read this again when I'm in more of receptive mood. I definitely don't want to miss out on Erskine's reformed rake sexiness.
I read this as part of the Classic Horror Lovers group, Tales to Chill Your Blood series that we started in October. A member reminded me that it wasI read this as part of the Classic Horror Lovers group, Tales to Chill Your Blood series that we started in October. A member reminded me that it was available in the Tales of Men and Ghosts collection, which is free on Kindle, so I was jazzed.
Overall, it didn't catch my interest. I found my attention wandering and boredom setting in as I read it. I think it was probably a situation where the writing style didn't work for me. Wharton seems to have a sort of elaborate, flowery style, and I usually don't care for that kind of writing. I didn't feel the tension build that much, even after the pivotal events occur. I was looking for that moment, I'll call it the 'crunch moment', although that is probably not the best word, and when it occurs, I didn't feel anything. I am a reader who likes to be involved in the story, and I felt detached from this story. I really didn't care about the characters. It's hard to feel horror or fear when you don't care and aren't drawn into the story.
While the idea was good, the execution didn't work for me. I'm disappointed because I was definitely looking for a good vintage ghost story to get my October Scare Fest started, and this wasn't the one.
Edith Wharton is obviously touted as a well-respected author, and I won't even try to dispute that. I do have to say she had quite a vocabulary, which is always enviable. Unfortunately, I'd have to say that this ghost story didn't work for me. I read it late, late at night in bed on my Kindle with the lights off, and I didn't feel a single chill. Not good for a ghost story. I'll try her again though.
With this being such a short story, it's not necessary to write an expansive review. Instead, I will just give a few quick thoughts.
I am glad I read SWith this being such a short story, it's not necessary to write an expansive review. Instead, I will just give a few quick thoughts.
I am glad I read Striking Distance first because this novella feels more like a backstory that I was happy to get after the fact. If you read this first, you'll still be okay. You'll just want to dive right into the full-length follow up on Javier and Laura.
I will be honest and I say I not a big erotica fan at all (I can only count maybe two authors I read in that genre, Shannon McKenna and Lisa Marie Rice), but despite that fact, I enjoyed this book. I feel that Pamela Clare is very good at writing fulfilling romantic stories with sex that adds to the story and doesn't detract. This novella doesn't really have more sex in proportion to her books, but it just feels that way because it's short and the focus is on the sexual interactions between two strangers who decide to share a no-strings attached weekend. I don't find hook up stories that appealing (I'm a HEA, love and commitment girl), so it was great to realize that I could enjoy the interactions between these two people because I cared about them. Clare does a good job of facilitating the reader's involvement in their story.
Readers who love hot and steamy sex will definitely enjoy this novella. You could see that there was a meeting of two equals who knew what they wanted sexually and weren't afraid to go for that, despite the risks of getting caught. Along the way, they might have just discovered they wanted more. For readers who aren't into the kinky stuff, you'll be fine. I'm definitely not into non-vanilla sex in my romances, and this was well within my comfort zone. It's a bit more descriptive than Clare usually gets, but only a bit.
I'd give this 4.5 stars. I'll pretty much read anything by Pamela Clare, because she does write such enjoyable stories and manages to make a 60 page novella about a fling feel like a lot more than that. Kudos to her for that.
Thanks to Ms. Pamela Clare for the opportunity to read this novella in exchange for an honest review.
The history of this short story might be even more intriguing than the actual writing itself. Mr. Polidori was the personal physician of the infamousThe history of this short story might be even more intriguing than the actual writing itself. Mr. Polidori was the personal physician of the infamous Lord Byron, and this work of fiction was conceived on that famous holiday event in which Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and Mary Godwin (who would later become Mary Shelley) issued a challenge to each other to write Gothic stories. This was Mr. Polidori's result.
I have little doubt that Lord Ruthven was inspired by Lord Byron. Polidori's feelings towards his debauched past employer are quite clear. In this case, Lord Ruthven has a supernatural ability to ruin, damage, and destroy anything he lays his hands on, and enjoys doing so in the process. This does not speak well of Lord Byron, and based of what I have read of him, I can see some echoes of him in this character. Lord Caroline Lamb, the incredibly outrageous for her times, cast-off mistress of Byron is immortalized in a character who appears briefly in the beginning of the story, at least in my opinion.
As far as the writing, I didn't feel that it was particularly inspired or brilliant. This short story is all telling and little showing. This created a distance between the characters in this story and myself. It was hard to feel much sympathy for Aubrey, his sister Miss Aubrey, Ianthe, or anyone else because the narrative was too much like a bland newspaper article, with little connection to the intense emotions of the persons involved. I had a distant feeling of dislike and disgust for Lord Ruthven, which with more active, vivid writing could have been outright disgust. That is a sadly wasted opportunity for a writer, in my opinion.
It's hard to say much overall about this story. It wasn't bad. I can't say I was disappointed, because I didn't have high expectations. Regardless of the issues as far as the writing, Mr. Polidori has earned his place in the vampire fiction canon. Sadly, he lived a short, disappointing (to himself) life. Although he could not be aware of the famous status of this story, it is some comfort to me that he has created something that endured two hundred years later. For that I will respect and appreciate The Vampyre. And also for its commentary of Lord Byron, a man whose antics pretty much created its own character archetype in literature, the Byronic hero. Admittedly in this case, there is nothing at all to recommend Lord Ruthven. Lord Byron himself, I cannot say yay or nay to that question.
End verdict: Any vampire fiction aficionado should take the opportunity to read this story at least for its historical value....more
Donald Allen Kirch writes an effective short story here, with the appeal of the old school macabre tales of terror and the unknown. His gift for humorDonald Allen Kirch writes an effective short story here, with the appeal of the old school macabre tales of terror and the unknown. His gift for humor is evident, as I found myself chuckling at some of the main characters observations and actions, even though some of it was a bit on the irreverent side. Humor aside, he expertly maintains that sense of dread that a good horror story gives this reader, where I know something bad is coming, and it ain't good. The idea behind this story was very interesting, and there was enough ambiguity that brought to mind the old school ghost stories where I didn't quite know everything that was going on for most of the story, and maybe not even completely at the end. Added to that were a couple of freaky and just downright wrong images that I need scrubbed out of my impressionable, visual brain!
The sinister tone of this story sticks with me, and gives me that lingering feeling of unease and alarm that makes me such a inveterate reader of tales of terror. That makes this a successful read. I liked this story a whole lot, although I didn't quite feel like my idea of justice was done. Of course, I can see that there were seeds with Father Donavon that led him down his unfortunate path. However, this hopeful reader always wishes for the moment of clarity that causes the doomed person to come to their senses before it's too late. But oh well! You can't always get what you want. And the reader can take some comfort in knowing this is just a scary story, and you can turn off your Kindle and go back to your less frightening real life existence. At least until your urge for a good scare brings you back.
Write faster, Donald! I need more scary stories to read!
This story has me thinking and wondering. It starts out as one thing, and then turns into something else.
What I liked:
*The creepy guy that made everyoThis story has me thinking and wondering. It starts out as one thing, and then turns into something else.
What I liked:
*The creepy guy that made everyone think of something dead or like a gross worm or something. It made me laugh, but also made me shiver. *The narrator's sweet relationship with his artist model. How it meant more to him than could admit, because he felt he was not a good man, and because of his lost true love. *The imagery of the story, filled with symbolism that I will ponder and will cause me to reread this story again soon. *The ambiguity of the implicit threat of the night watchman. *So many unanswered questions. How does it all tie together??? *The romanticism throughout this story. Not just in a love story way. But in the use of language. *The clear, infectious writing style that has a biting edge of humor that is still fresh after so many years. *The narrator, who is both a deep romantic, and a true cynic.
I'm scratching my head over this one, and mourning the quick, although effective ending. And Chambers was considered a hack, pulp writer in his time? That's sad to me. Glad I have finally read this story! ...more
The antiquated language and over-wrought prose on offer here will likely turn off some readers. I don’t necessarily prefer this sort of writing, and IThe antiquated language and over-wrought prose on offer here will likely turn off some readers. I don’t necessarily prefer this sort of writing, and I don’t care to read it terribly often (despite my enchantment with classic horror and speculative fiction). However, part of me enjoys these elements at the same time as finding them hard to tolerate when I am not in the mood for them. Rather a contradiction, but there you have it. There’s something about the way this taste of antiquity takes me back in history, so that I can experience life as those who lived during these times experienced it. Nathanael is a broken man. The horrific events of his past have destroyed him in the most fundamental of ways. He is not free to be a happy, joy-filled man, content with the love of a good woman and the friendships of those around him. He is haunted by the dark memories and the malevolent figure of Coppelius, who murdered his father. This figure became intertwined in the imaginings of a childhood dark fable about the Sandman, who will punish bad children who don’t go to bed in a timely fashion.
Years later, the memory of that diabolical man taints everything, even his relationship with Clara, his beloved. Nathanael goes back to University and starts falling in love with Olimpia, the daughter of his physics professor. She is literally the perfect woman: an exquisitely correct danger, a pianist without flaw, and beautifully mannered. She listens carefully to everything he says, not dismissing him as Clara does when he goes off on a melancholy bent. He adores and is obsessed with her, even though his friends and acquaintances find her repellent in her lack of animation. Unfortunately, his beloved is not as she seems.
The Sandman is a study in psychological horror. Like many good horror stories, this one is laced with ambiguity. Is the malevolent figure continuing to haunt Nathanael, or has he lost his sanity, stricken by hallucinations and mental malaise; his mind broken by those terrifying events in his childhood? I wasn’t quite sure because there was evidence to suggest that it was not completely a figment of Nathanael’s imagination.
The Sandman is an important short story because it is one of the first works of fiction to include an artificial human, the precursor to the robot of later fiction and scientific reality today. I have wanted to read this story for a while, and I enjoyed it more than not. Despite the author’s penchant for using five words when one would suffice, and the somewhat disjointed narrative structure, I found myself becoming very enthralled as I read this story. Mr. Hoffman shows a vivid imagination, and his prose caused me to become involved in the story to a level in which I was quite worried about how the story would conclude. Although this won’t be to all tastes, I recommend that admirers of classic fantasy and horrors read this one at least one, because it does have something of merit to offer to the literary world. ...more
How does he do it? How does Mr. James write such fantastic tales of terror? This story starts so benignly, I had this false sense of security. I was fHow does he do it? How does Mr. James write such fantastic tales of terror? This story starts so benignly, I had this false sense of security. I was fooled but good. The conversational tone, and the dry, academic characters had me wondering where this story was going. Soon, I came to realize exactly what was going on. Our narrator collects pictures of homes. He gets a lead on a mezzotint (a metal engraving with a great deal of distinction between shades of light and dark) that he considers rather substandard for the two guineas the dealer is asking for. Only this is a special picture. It changes, you see. As the narrator becomes aware that this photo has some unlikely qualities, the unease builds. The narrator asks others to look at the picture, and they see something changing as well. What is one to think of this mezzotint?
It’s amazing that this story can be so eerie and disarming, even without knowing exactly what the nature of the mezzotint’s ability is. Is this a ghost story? Dark fantasy? What’s the nature of the figure in the picture? Mr. James doesn’t reveal that. It doesn’t matter. The story has served its purpose. The mood, setting, and plot deliver one heck of a read. ...more
This one was a little too slow-moving for me. It didn't have much momentum for me. More of a suspense story, it reminded me a little of "The Most DangThis one was a little too slow-moving for me. It didn't have much momentum for me. More of a suspense story, it reminded me a little of "The Most Dangerous Game". Stoker apparently wrote this story as a result of his honeymoon in France, and it's evident that the scenery had a creative effect on him. Although it was a hard read, I did appreciate the sinister aspects. The way the narrator soon comes to realize that he's being set up to be murdered by the vagrants he visits was well-done. The hints that they have malevolent intents dawned on both me and the narrator at about the same time. There was also the suspense of the chase as the narrator runs for life, and the menace of the hungry rats. Sadly, this one didn't win me over. It was a bit too much of a hard read and not much of a satisfactory payoff. Even so, I'm so glad I got the chance to read it. As a whole, I do admire Stoker's writing.
I read this one with the Classic Horror Lovers group (albeit late), and I enjoyed it. Mr. Chambers took the time to establish the mood, the setting, aI read this one with the Classic Horror Lovers group (albeit late), and I enjoyed it. Mr. Chambers took the time to establish the mood, the setting, and the characters. I like the way each person was given particular traits that brought the characters to life. He also established the Breton setting very well. The people are steeped in superstition, which the protagonist (Dick) frowns and dismisses. However, he would be wise to heed their warnings.
The scenes in which the 39th skull, the skull of the Black Priest, somehow continues to find it's way uphill out of the mass grave were quite scary. Also, when the masked priest shows up outside the window of Lys, Dick's wife. As were the climactic scenes and near the finish. I was sure that Dick and his wife were a goner. Oh, that last scene was quite creepy.
I liked how Chambers kept me guessing. He built up my expectation for tragedy, learning that Dick and his wife were so in love, and expecting a happy event. I was scared to keep reading, because I was sure the Black Priest was going to carry off poor Lys. I liked that Lys hung fast to her faith and didn't fear death, and her faith seemed to inspire Dick. Her actions, which seemed really superstitious, helped to save the day, which I am grateful about.
I have to say I enjoyed Mr. Chambers' writing, although some of the history aspects were a tad dry. I like his ability to build tension, and his romantic/melodramatic elements. I will be reading more of him.
Brilliantly creepy. I read it in Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories, and it was one of the standout stories in that volume. I definitely want to rerBrilliantly creepy. I read it in Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories, and it was one of the standout stories in that volume. I definitely want to reread this one!...more
Oh, now that was a good, old-fashioned horror story. It definitely does live up the challenge of chilling my blood. It was very atmospheric, and writtOh, now that was a good, old-fashioned horror story. It definitely does live up the challenge of chilling my blood. It was very atmospheric, and written to great affect. I could almost imagine how it must have been for poor Angelo each night when he was preyed upon by the creature, and I felt as though I could see the mound that the two gentlemen are discussing, and how creepy that must have been for them. I also felt sad at the injustice against poor Cristina, and how she wreaks her vengeance. Crawford doesn't explain how or why the creature rises to prey on Angelo, but I don't feel it was necessary. This story was completely successful in delivering an elegant scare. I read "The Upper Berth" by this author, and it was very scary. This one is quite fearsome as well, although very different. Mr. Crawford knows his way around a scary story. Yes, indeed. He's going on my list of the best classic horror writers.
I quite liked this story by Arthur Machen. I liked the air of mystery, but harrowing menace he created. Apparently the doctor's experiments in piercinI quite liked this story by Arthur Machen. I liked the air of mystery, but harrowing menace he created. Apparently the doctor's experiments in piercing the veil had some very bad effects. There was a subtle element of dark sexuality in this story, handled very elegantly. I like that much is left for the reader to discern in this story. Many of those people who see what should have been left hidden don't live long afterward, and I was encouraged to draw my own conclusions about that horror they were exposed to.
I think that Mr. Machen will make fans of weird fiction very happy with this story. There's enough description to get the mind going, but at the same time, it's done discreetly. He seems to tap into a bit of Greek mythology, yet takes the story in a novel direction. He hints at the dark, depraved, and sinister, but never sways from a cultured, refined tone. Unlike Lovecraft, Machen doesn't go for an overdramatic, hysterical tone. No, he stays discreet, but I still felt the hairs on the back of my arm raise and I wondered what those poor people had seen that drove them to the edge of madness and beyond. Even so, I still felt I had some questions about the nature of evil as revealed by this story. Not enough to see "The Great God Pan" for myself though!
The Great God Pan might not appeal to all tastes, but I found it a worthy read for fans of classic horror and weird fiction done in a very refined, dreamy manner.
**spoiler alert** Hmm. I didn't enjoy this story that much. I can see why it's influential and respected as a ghost story. But, it's not my cup of tea**spoiler alert** Hmm. I didn't enjoy this story that much. I can see why it's influential and respected as a ghost story. But, it's not my cup of tea. I think that the malevolent ghost aspect is interesting and appreciated, but I didn't care much for the execution, or the ending. I can see how this motif has been used in latter works. Definitely respect Oliver Onions for that. I also respect him for having such a dark aspect to this story.
Let's be real here. I like upbeat endings. I can enjoy some books that end negatively, but I didn't like this ending. I felt bad for Elsie. She genuinely cared about Paul. I wanted her to kick some ghost you know what. And Paul, well he just seemed to give up the ghost (no pun intended) and let the spirit suck him dry, practically. Nope, I didn't like that.
My other problem was how long and meandering it was. That doesn't tend to be my favorite kind of writing. I didn't think that Mr. Onions did much to build up the tension. It was awful vague, more suggestive and 'is it really happening or is Paul Oleron off his rocker?' But we know that's not the case.
Again, I can see why this is well-respected, and it was a pretty good story. Just not my thing. I feel so bad for poor Paul and Elsie. What a downer--and no good scare with it. Bah!!!...more
**spoiler alert** Algernon Blackwood has been on my list of classic horror/weird fiction writers since I discovered my fascination with these old, and**spoiler alert** Algernon Blackwood has been on my list of classic horror/weird fiction writers since I discovered my fascination with these old, and often lost, gems that fell in the cracks of classic literature. I have read his biography on Wikipedia.org, and he seemed like an interesting fellow. I bought a couple of his volumes for my collection, and added more to my Kindle. A few years ago, I attempted to read The Willows in an anthology, and it just wasn't our time to get acquainted. Thankfully, the Classic Horror Lovers group voted on reading this short story as a group. For, I found it to be a very good story.
Nature fascinates as much as it terrifies. I'm a nature girl. But, let's face it, I'd be almost helpless were I stranded in the wild. I like to watch "Man V. Wild" and "Survivorman", and I collect my survival guides to prepare for the coming apocalypse, the 'what if' scenario in which I have to live on the land. But, this surburban girl would be in for it, were she in the shoes of these men in this story, which is why I stay my butt at home.
Intrepid fellows (or nowadays gals, as well) who venture into the wilderness may face a mental crisis in which they lose their reason when faced with the powerful force of the uninhibited, unclaimed isolation of the wild. They may start to go crazy, and think they see things, which cannot be real. But, why, I ask, did it happen to a seasoned woodsman first, and not the naive, inexperienced young Scottish student who had accompanied him? The reason is, there is a force that lurks in the wild. The natives know to fear it. It is the Wendigo.
I admit I laughed at a few parts. Not because the writing was bad or because it was cheesy. I think I needed the release of a pressure valve. Also because, It seemed terribly bizarre to think that some wild force could essentially kidnap you, force you to run so fast your feet caught on fire, and your eyes bled. So fast, your feet burned away, to be replaced by the animal-like ones that it has. A force that could assume your very form and masquerade as you to your companions--perhaps waiting for its chance to snap them up too. Okay, it makes me shudder just writing that.
This story is pretty creepy in parts. Algernon Blackwood uses language in such a way to evoke this emotion. He paints a clear picture of the beauty of the wild, and the sinister creature that lurks within. The erudite would try to dismiss its existence, like Simpson, and his uncle, Cathcart. But the deeper part of a man, the pure, instinctual survivor, knows better than that. To know and to understand is to fear that force, the primal creature that defies explanation: The Wendigo.
A word of warning to those who like to venture into the unknown wilderness: Take great care when you go into the wild. Guard your eyes and your feet well. Don't let that fire go out for one second. Look carefully into the face of your companion. The Wendigo lurks out there.
I'm glad to have read Mr. Blackwood, and I am eager to explore more of his singular tales....more
Interesting read. I felt bad for Mr. Jennings for what he suffered, and for so long. Being who he was, it seemed even worse for the poor fellow. I donInteresting read. I felt bad for Mr. Jennings for what he suffered, and for so long. Being who he was, it seemed even worse for the poor fellow. I don't think it was just a nervous condition. I think it's kind of funny that large amounts of green tea seems to open the poor man's 'third eye.' My sister is an avid green tea drinker. I suppose I ought to warn her. Personally, it's a little too bitter for my tastes, but I digress.
Dr. Hesselius is an interesting protagonist, a doctor who treats the spirit and the body. I hope to read more of his stories.
As far as writing style, I found this a little more easy to read than Carmilla. Mr. Le Fanu writes beautifully, although not simply. That's okay. I kind of like the old-fashioned manner of writing of the prior centuries, and this one wasn't a tad dry like Carmilla was.
Like many classic horror short stories, the conclusion is sort of up to one's interpretation. That works for me. I never liked being spoon-fed ideas in literature.
Although not scary, there are some elements that are a bit eerie. Green Tea was a pretty satisfying story--a nice, quick read....more
I needed a quick palate cleanser after a less than satisfactory DNF romance. Anne Stuart always does the trick. I allowed my KiCompleted Reread 8/8/15
I needed a quick palate cleanser after a less than satisfactory DNF romance. Anne Stuart always does the trick. I allowed my Kindle Text-to-Speech to read to me as I was supposed to be going to sleep early this morning, and it was lovely. I usually avoid super short romance stories because they just don't work. This is a very short story, but it manages to have everything I would want in the very short length. What a risque storyline, but pulled off excellently. Even though the hero is a debauched rake, I still wanted to run off with him. I can see why Kathleen did exactly that.
In my opinion, Anne Stuart is the Mistress of Romance! She teaches me something everytime I read her books!
I loved this story. Yes it was short, but it was also sweet and very well done. I'm a sucker for the plain, aging spinster meets the rake storyline, and I think Ms. Stuart always does great with it. I don't know...Not too many writers do rakes as well as I like. But, Ms. Stuart, she definitely does. A rake is mad, bad, and dangerous to know. But the best part about a rakish hero is seeing him fall in love with the one woman who makes him want to give up his debauched, profligate ways. Hard to do in such a short format, but she managed here, in my opinion. I love her use of language, and how she built the tension so well for a short story. I'm not sure what to expect about the Heavenly Host, except they are far from heavenly. I can't say too much without spoiling the story, but it met any expectations I have for Anne Stuart's writing. I'm glad to see her writing more historicals, although I love her contemporaries too. What can I say? I love her writing, period. She writes a killer short story, says Danielle, with a happy smile on her face....more
Reading this story was a lot like standing in line opening weekend for a blockbuster you waited a year to see, and being underwhelmed. I was disappoinReading this story was a lot like standing in line opening weekend for a blockbuster you waited a year to see, and being underwhelmed. I was disappointed. I've heard about this story as being one of the best ghost stories ever written. I was so excited to read it. So excited was I, I had to download it to my Kindle to read right away, even though I have this story in one of my paperback collections. I love psychological horror, but I don't think a good psychological horror novel should leave the reader feeling as detached as I did with this story. I also felt that Mr. James spent so much time in writing a stylistically appealing story, using just the right turn of phrase to pretty up his narrative, that the story got lost in translation. I was surprised to realize that I had gotten to the end. I was like, "What?" After all the slow going, and slow build that never got anywhere, it was "wham!" Sigh! Not sure what to think of this one.
I will be honest and say I had trouble with this story. I had to work really hard to read it and not skim the words to move ahead. I really resist that when I'm reading. There is no point in reading a story if you don't understand the intent behind it. I like to read every word and take things in. On the downside, I like a pay off to my reading, especially if it's not a particularly easy story to read. But, this story was hard to decipher for hidden intent.
I saw some gems in it: the menace of two children who seemed like angels, but had a decidedly unangelic side. The governess who started to doubt her own reason and sanity, but was dead on in her understanding of what was going on. The apparitions that should have inspired dread in me, but somehow didn't. I spent time waiting to feel unease. It never got there.
Please don't misunderstand me. I love subtle horror. I prefer it. But the impact of the horror, the feel of the gothic has to be there. It has to be planted in one's mind so that the power of the threat, or its aftermath, is felt. I never felt the true impact with this story.
On the positive side, I felt that the psychological results of the 'demon children' on caregivers was translated pretty well. You could see the confusion and the distress that these beautiful, seemingly perfect children was having on the governess and the cook. It was interesting to see the governess have discussions with a child, that seemed incongruously adult. Discussions with an intellectual equal who will go for the jugular, so one has to be prepared for the worst. I felt that. At times, Miles did exude a menace that I wanted to feel. I felt the governess's anxiety at being in a situation that was beyond her control. Not sure that she was doing the right thing. And fearing for the safety of herself, those around her, and the children in her charge. But it was in a detached fashion. The power of horror is in bringing to light fears that we personally can identify with on some level, the more personal and visceral the better. If that barrier stays between the reader and the circumstance, then horror loses its ability to affect us.
I have to say that I will read my volume Ghost Stories by this author, and hope for the best. But, I won't be attempting any of his non-gothic works. Although he is a beautiful writer, there is not enough to engage on an emotional level, which is very important to me in my pleasure reading. My recommendation: If you are a person who is absolutely committed to a thorough immersion into gothic fiction/classic horror reading, you should read this. However, depending on your tastes in writing styles, if you are like myself in that you don't go for pretty writing with less substance, I wouldn't expect much from it. Although I wouldn't say I am the most sophisticated reader, I am sophisticated enough to realize that much enjoyment can be found in 19th century literature, but this story didn't deliver that for me....more
I stumbled across this short story for free on Kindle, and I am very glad that I downloaded and read it. With its period settling and rich language, tI stumbled across this short story for free on Kindle, and I am very glad that I downloaded and read it. With its period settling and rich language, this story involved me very deeply. It is the story of two brothers: one tall, muscular and handsome; and the other, not handsome at all, slight of build and blessed with the incredible ability to run swiftly over long distances. Sweyn is the beautiful, well-admired brother, and Christian is more than happy to walk meekly in his shadow. But when a beautiful, young, white-haired stranger arrives, she drives a wedge between the brothers. For Christian soon suspects that she is the werewolf he has been tracking, and Sweyn quickly falls in love with this mysterious female who calls herself White Fell, and believes that Christian's ravings are induced by jealous madness.
This story inspired a mix of emotions in me, from dread, to anxiety, to deep sadness. It was one of those stories where you are thinking, "This can't end well," when you get to a certain point in reading it. Indeed, the ending is hardly upbeat. But for a story that starts out as one of thrilling suspense and horror, it has a very meaningful message. It's a story about the power of love and sacrifice, and it was very well-done. A great free find on Amazon Kindle. Recommended to fans of classic genre fiction with a deeper, even spiritual message....more
What a delightful story. As a fan of the Victorian setting in horror, I had a lot of fun reading this story. Jason Dark is a great new hero for me. ThWhat a delightful story. As a fan of the Victorian setting in horror, I had a lot of fun reading this story. Jason Dark is a great new hero for me. This urbane, kind gentleman is brave enough to take on a demon with the power to tear him to shreds. He's a ghosthunter with an arsenal to make a lover of arcane artifacts and gadgets very happy. And he's got the coolest sword. I'm jealous of that sword. I really am. This short story is full of action, barely slowing down once it gets started. Although not really scary, it did have some tense moments, and wonderful, cinematic atmosphere. And Mr. Henkel gets points for having a heroine who is a formidable warrior in her own right, Sui Lin, who is of Chinese heritage.
I can say one thing. I'd love to read more by this author. Are you running short of classic horror short stories or novels to read? Check this one out. It has the elements that make such fare so appealing. Fans of Sherlock Holmes, occult detectives, and classic action-adventure/pulp fiction with supernatural elements, be sure to check out Jason Dark-Ghost Hunter: Demon's Night.
Now that was a good ghost story. It was refreshing. I loved the humor, but there was also pathos. I kind of liked the old crusty Canterville ghost, evNow that was a good ghost story. It was refreshing. I loved the humor, but there was also pathos. I kind of liked the old crusty Canterville ghost, even though he was kind of evil. I loved how the Otis children turned the tables on him. And how Virginia felt sad for Sir Simon, and helped him to get closure.
This is the second story I've read by Oscar Wilde, and I must say, I am very impressed with his writing. His work has a depth, but an airy lightness to it, and a hard to define beauty to it. Honestly, I can't find the words to really explain how I feel about it. I think that he managed to put so much into this short story, and I was very pleased with the result. I can't believe I waited so long to read Oscar Wilde. Shame on me.
If you have not read The Canterville Ghost, I highly recommend doing so. It is free online through various sources....more
**spoiler alert** My first Holmes story. I read it because I liked the idea of a spooky devil dog preying on people in the moors. It was wonderfully a**spoiler alert** My first Holmes story. I read it because I liked the idea of a spooky devil dog preying on people in the moors. It was wonderfully atmospheric, and who doesn't love the duo of Holmes and Watson? And I just find fiercely intelligent men very sexy! However, the end brought to mind an episode of Scooby Doo, and how disappointed I always feel at the end of a Scooby Doo episode, which is part of why I don't consider myself a fan of this popular cartoon series. The Dog Wasn't Really Demonic or Supernatural!!!! What a big letdown. Come on. Where's the magic? I want the supernatural mystery. Sigh! Despite that, I enjoyed the story and I will be reading more Holmes adventures....more
Kudos to Sierra Rose for writing such a cool story. Diablo's Return is a dream story for folks like me, who spent their adolescence watching way too mKudos to Sierra Rose for writing such a cool story. Diablo's Return is a dream story for folks like me, who spent their adolescence watching way too many action movies, and wishing there were books that read like some of those under-appreciated gems.
Diablo is one of those dark figures that you root for, even though he's probably not a good guy. Or isn't he? Diablo has quite a tortured past to get beyond, and his heart is full of vengeance. Will he be able to put that past behind him and find a happy future? Will the real bad guys get vanquished? Well you need to read this story to find out.
Ms. Rose does a great job with the action and suspense elements (with appeal to both a male and female audience), but also manages to create fairly well-fleshed characters for such a short story. Writing short fiction is not easy. Writing really good short fiction is even harder. But this is a great short story that meets my needs for an edgy, action suspense story, with a nice romance, to boot. Great fun, and definitely recommended!...more