books · Planner Girls Collective

Halloween Carnival Volume 1 – Book Review

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A little while ago I was granted permission to read and review a book on Netgalley named Halloween Carnival Volume 1. This is a collaboration of short stories by Robert McCammon, Kevin Lucia, John Little and Lisa Morton.

As the title suggests, these stories all have a Halloween theme. Below is the blurb from the book at time of writing review (11/09/17):

Robert McCammon, Kevin Lucia, John Little, Lisa Morton, and Mark Allan Gunnells put the horror back in Halloween with a quintet of devilishly delightful tales, curated by acclaimed author and editor Brian James Freeman.

STRANGE CANDY by Robert McCammon
Chocolate bars and sour suckers are trick-or-treat staples, but beware the odd sweet at the bottom of your bag. You never know who it’s from—or what it might do to you.

THE RAGE OF ACHILLES by Kevin Lucia
Father Ward should have heeded the warnings about hearing confession on All Hallow’s Eve. Because a man is about to tell him a secret more haunting than any he has heard before.

DEMON AIR by John R. Little
Fear of flying is not uncommon. But on this transpacific airline, the real danger isn’t the flight itself. It’s whoever—or whatever—is up in the air with you.

LA HACIENDA DE LOS MUERTOS by Lisa Morton
Trick McGrew, former cowboy star of the silver screen, has never believed in tall tales. But down in Mexico, the land of La Llorona, he’s about to find out just how real urban legends can be.

#MAKEHALLOWEENSCARYAGAIN by Mark Allan Gunnells
Some people will go to any lengths to rack up retweets, likes, and follows on social media, no matter who they end up hurting . . . or even killing.

I originally received this book mid-Summer. However at the time I couldn’t get into the mood to read this genre. Summer is my least favourite season and the warm weather/long nights ruined the vibe. However early September took a turn in the weather. We’ve had a lot of rain, it’s getting darker earlier and there’s a feel of Autumn in the air. The perfect setting for this book, which aptly matches the release date of 2nd October 2017.

The first story, Strange Candy by Robert McCammon felt like a taster to the book. I wasn’t too sure where it would lead and although I enjoyed this story, I feel it could have been a bit longer with a little more substance. This could be due to the book being given out to be read early before the published date. I liked the story and the message behind it but didn’t feel I had time to immerse myself in it.

The Rage of Achilles by Kevin Lucia was another fairly short tale but I did get pulled into this story. I could empathise with characters and really picture the scene. There was a good flow to the story. However, again this could be the early reading time but I felt like there was more coming. Whereas Strange Candy did seem to come full circle in itself, The Rage of Achilles felt like it was leading up to more. It’s certainly left me intrigued and I enjoyed the twist.

Demon Air by John R. Little was an unusual tale. I didn’t connect as much with this story but again felt like there was more to come. I liked the concept but would have liked a little bit more suspense. The events depicted in the story captured my imagination, I enjoyed the element of ‘trick or treat’, mainly ‘trick’. However, perhaps I’m a little bit gruesome as I would have liked a bit more torture for the characters. *Again would like to mention I read a draft so this may have changed at time of publishing*.

La Hacienda De Los Muertos by Lisa Morton was a lengthier story. I really enjoyed this. The setting of the story, particularly for ghost/horror fiction is something I don’t tend to come across often. It was refreshing to have a whole location imaginatively described. I could picture all scenes based on the writing skills and the characters. The story itself was long enough to lose yourself in it and genuinely enjoy it. It was also written in a way that the reader was kept on their toes, not entirely sure of what was around the corner. All in all, the foundations of the writing followed the classic theme for a Ghost Story.

#MakeHalloweenScaryAgain by Mark Allen Gunnells was my favourite of the five. I suppose I’m a little biased as it’s a theme I would seek out to read anyway. It has the serial killer, psychological thriller element. There was no supernatural activity in this story so it makes it easier for the reader to identify, it’s that sense that it could be true. It was a longer short story with a suitable build of suspense leading to the grand finale at the end. There were plenty of twists and turns that kept the reader guessing.

As mentioned before, the release date for Halloween Carnival is the 2nd October 2017. Perfect for Halloween!
I have given it four out of five stars. Reasons being that although I feel the last two stories were 5 star level, the first three stories, in my opinion, needed a bit more to draw me in.

Thanks for stopping by,
Kelly.

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