William Bitner Jr.'s Reviews > Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked

Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked by Christa Carmen
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it was amazing
bookshelves: horror, short-stories, anthologies-literature-collections

Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked
By Christa Carmen

Genre - Fiction
Category - Horror/Psychological/Short Stories
Pages - 242
Publication Info - Unnerving (July 30, 2018)
Format - Softcover
Rating - 📙📙📙📙📙

Every once in a while you come upon a book at just the right time in your life or during a certain holiday or season that the book fits into perfectly. Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked by Christa Carmen fits the bill on both fronts. These 13 short stories of horror, terror, torment, and psychological battles were so in tune with the celebration of Halloween and the Fall season. I couldn’t help but have an urge to go on a hayride through a scarecrow infested cornfield, or have a craving to open that bag of Brach’s Autumn Mix/Candy Corn whilst reading this wonderful collection of short stories. With tales of haunted trains, to a Dickensian themed tale of ghosts of boyfriends past. what we have here is a vast range of stories, all of which are thought provoking and powerful bits of prose. You will have a hard time believing that this is a debut work by this very talented author. It reads as if she’s been doing this for many years beyond her young age. As I read I thought this young lady either has some really dark demons or a very vivid imagination. I conclude that both of those descriptions are in some ways true. That is a review of the first front...on the second front, I do not know Christa Carmen personally, but I could not be more proud of her. This is where I will review on a more personal level. As a person who is coming up on a sobriety birthday (November 5, 2018) of 15 years, it warms my heart and gives me such a wonderful feeling to see someone turn their demons into something positive and good. I was not aware until I read the acknowledgments at the end of the book of her struggles. Not all these stories have to do with addiction but a few do and they are powerful, moving and some of the most insane but positive bits of writing. Liquid Handcuffs and All Souls of Eve are two such stories. One thing that is consistent in each story however is at least one female protagonist in each tale. I went into this read as I normally do, just wanting to enjoy and be entertained. My eyes were open for possibilities and I hoped that it would be an enjoyable read. Not only did I enjoy this read, but I came out the other side with a renewed feeling that there is hope for all who choose to make a turn in their personal struggles and make something of our lives. I won this book in a giveaway of some sort, I don’t even really remember entering it to tell you the truth, but I’m glad I won...it was a win on may different levels. I will keep my eyes open for what may be new from Christa Carmen in the future and believe she will be a force to be reckoned with no matter what she decides to write or do next. It’s October and so is this book...a must read for the season or anytime, actually.

Publisher description: A young woman’s fears regarding the gruesome photos appearing on her cell phone prove justified in a ghastly and unexpected way. A chainsaw-wielding Evil Dead fan defends herself against a trio of undead intruders. A bride-to-be comes to wish that the door between the physical and spiritual worlds had stayed shut on All Hallows’ Eve. A lone passenger on a midnight train finds that the engineer has rerouted them toward a past she’d prefer to forget. A mother abandons a life she no longer recognizes as her own to walk up a mysterious staircase in the woods. In her debut collection, Christa Carmen combines horror, charm, humor, and social critique to shape thirteen haunting, harrowing narratives of women struggling with both otherworldly and real-world problems. From grief, substance abuse, and mental health disorders, to a post-apocalyptic exodus, a seemingly sinister babysitter with unusual motivations, and a group of pesky ex-boyfriends who won’t stay dead, Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked is a compelling exploration of horrors both supernatural and psychological, and an undeniable affirmation of Carmen’s flair for short fiction.

About the author as it appears on Goodreads: Christa Carmen's short fiction has appeared in Fireside Fiction, Unnerving Magazine, Comet Press' Year's Best Hardcore Horror, Volume 2, Outpost 28 Issue #2 & 3, Third Flatiron's Strange Beasties, Alban Lake Publishing's Only the Lonely, DarkFuse Magazine, Tales to Terrify, Lycan Valley Press Publications' Dark Voices, Space Squid, Ghost Parachute, Black Ice Magazine Volume 2, Dead Oaks' Horror Anthology Podcast, Horror Hill (Chilling Tales for Dark Nights / The Simply Scary Podcast Network), Weasel Press' The Haunted Traveler, Mad Scientist Journal, The Eunoia Review, Blood Moon Rising, Danse Macabre, Wolfsinger Publications' Just Desserts, DreamFusion Press' The Book of the Macabre, Devolution Z Horror Magazine, The J.J. Outré Review, Prolific Press' Jitter Issue #4, Literally Stories, Fiction on the Web, Corner Bar Magazine, pennyshorts, Anotherealm, and Dark Fire Fiction. In 2016, "Four Souls of Eve" was published by Frith Books as a standalone eBook. Her work won Best in Genre, Thriller/Horror, in wordhaus' 2016 Trick or Treat Fall Story Contest and “The Goblin’s Abettor” won The Haberdasher’s Monster Mash Slash Fiction Contest in 2017.

Christa has additional work forthcoming from Chilling Tales for Dark Nights, Outpost 28 Issue #4, and The Wicked Library. Her debut fiction collection, "Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked," was released in August 2018 by Unnerving.

Christa lives in Westerly, Rhode Island with her husband and a beagle who rivals her in stubbornness. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania in English and psychology, and a master's degree from Boston College in counseling psychology. She is currently pursuing a Master of Liberal Arts in Creative Writing & Literature from Harvard Extension School. Christa works for Pfizer in Clinical Trial Packaging, and at a local hospital as a mental health clinician. When she's not writing, she is volunteering with one of several organizations that aim to maximize public awareness and seek solutions to the ever-growing opioid crisis in southern RI and southeastern CT.

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Reading Progress

August 19, 2018 – Shelved
August 19, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
October 18, 2018 – Started Reading
October 18, 2018 – Shelved as: horror
October 18, 2018 – Shelved as: short-stories
October 18, 2018 –
page 79
October 19, 2018 –
page 144
October 20, 2018 – Finished Reading
October 21, 2018 – Shelved as: anthologies-literature-collections

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