And Then We Vanish: Collected Stories by D.H. Schleicher

And Then We Vanish: Collected Stories
By: D.H. Schleicher

and then we vanish

Eleven twisting tales curated from nearly a decade of work, And Then We Vanish features five new stories and six previously published stories from acclaimed independent author D. H. Schleicher.

In these stories we encounter characters who are victims of their own poor decisions…These characters might be longing to disappear or left behind by those who already have, and their stories challenge us to connect with them while they navigate the waves of mystery, violence, and the absurd that filter into their everyday lives. – Goodreads

*Book received in exchange for honest review*

And Then We Vanish is a collection of stories which is exactly as its title implies, about people who vanish in one way or another. The stories all have their own backdrop and range in different sort of characters. Its quite the box of chocolates to open and discover. Each of the characters in this story are more than they seem and as their characters reveal, most of them are rather displeasing personalities.

One of the elements that stand out in all the stories of And Then We Vanish are its characters. Each of them in their own backgrounds and their own settings and backdrop. In some cases, these characters take a rather extreme path and the story will leave it with some room to contemplate on the overall situation of the story. Knowing when to end a story shows how clever this author is. Doing it with short stories and having a certain pacing to make it all mostly work together that these characters reveal enough to be relevant and criticize their course of action but still think further about it. The best part is that these characters are all living in the everyday lives of the society whether its a parent, child or colleague, etc.

Some of these stories shine because of the setting. The specific one that comes to mind, especially as a Canadian and having vacationed there a few times in my life, is the incredibly creative take on Niagara Falls (which personally is the story that I liked the most) called When Night Falls on Niagara. There’s some other stories like: A Ballerina in Battery Park, Upon the Unfortunate News of My Death, The Pumpkin Thief , Somebody You Used to Know and Anthrax and Cherry Blossoms are some of the my other favorites from this collected stories.

D.H. Schleicher crafts each of these stories in a vivid writing style. The characters all come to life and it all has some kind of lingering effect for the characters that leaves room for reflection. The clever combination of the everyday characters and their settings gives them each a nice twist. You can tell from the titles above that there is always a twist of effects. Much like other anthologies and collected stories, some stories do land better than others and have the clever angle that makes it memorable however, they all deliver fairly well overall.

Score: 4/5

Triple Feature: Fables of the Undead #4-6

The first few short stories for Halloween month is here! A year or two ago, I did the Fables of the Undead’s first three books (which are more like short stories). They belong to a bigger group of books called Zombie Kids Books by Dina T. Seth.

We are back with the remaining three books of Fables of the Undead series. You can check out my review of the first three HERE.

Beauty vs the Beast (Book#4)
by: Dina T Seth

fables of the undead

When her father inadvertently brings the zombie plague to the Castle of the Beast, little does Belle know that she will have to live there too, as the sickened Prince’s prisoner. But how long can she survive against a zombified Beast before she too falls prey to the terrible sickness? – Goodreads

Beauty vs. the Beast doesn’t quite have the charm the first three had. For the most part, the stories are still morphed but they are predictable, even in how our Disney princess Belle gets zombified. The writing didn’t feel as engaging either but it did give a more honorable take on Gaspard (aka Gaston). Some of the description is very vivid near the end and I still question how suitable it is for kids to read but they do hold a horror element and those descriptions are usually at a minimum. However, the idea of Disney princess as zombies still has an appeal to me just because I like how they twist the story around. The pacing here is a little lacking but it remains a quick read. Plus it makes an effort to link to a previous story and that helps with the story while still keeeping it a standalone story.

Sleeping Zombie (Book #5)
by: Dina T Seth

fables of the undead

Cursed by the Witch Queen, baby Princess Talia spends eighteen years living in fear of needles. But when the inevitable happens, an ancient curse of the undead is brought to Vernalia Castle, and the Princess and all its residents must be preserved by a magical spell……One hundred years later, a brave knight discovers the castle hidden within the Deep Forest of thorns, and inadvertently wakes up a zombie horde. Can he escape a living tomb of risen royalty, zombie fairies and a fearsome undead dragon!? – Goodreads

Sleeping Zombie is a twist on Sleeping Beauty. I’m sure its all wildly apparent. This story starts piecing together the whole series where we see a connection to the zombie plague that has broken out. Its not hard to imagine what will happen especially since I’m not a kid anymore. However, this book is a bit more exciting. It plays similarly to the original and the twist is rather apparent however, the characters here are fun to read. There is more to think about and more to look forward to. There is a solid setting and it seems that the plans of why this undead plague has hit the fairy tale world is starting to reveal itself of who the culprit is.

Rapunzel-Tower of the Dead (Book #6)
by: Dina T Seth

zombie kids books

For seventeen years, Rapunzel has been held prisoner in a hidden tower. Her only contact with the outside world is via her “mother”, the evil Witch Queen – and now her slave, the brave knight Sir Cecil. Unfortunately for them all, a century-old zombie plague has awoken in the nearby Kingdom, and Rapunzel’s prison has become a tower of the undead. A Sir Cecil fights to protect her from the risen dead, little does he know that Rapunzel is infected too… – Goodreads

This is what I’m talking about. The last book of the Fables of the Undead wraps up the story a little more. We have continuing characters and links back more to previous books. It is well-paced and pretty clever with what it does. I don’t know much about the Rapunzel story other than her long hair and being in a tower so it didn’t matter to me how it would go since it would all be a surprise. However, it is fun to read and pretty exciting with some action and some mystery and even a bit of romance. There was a nice balance to everything. It is definitely a fun read. Even if you haven’t read the previous books in the series, it would matter too much either.

Overall, Fables of the Undead series is good because these books are standalone stories but keep a few links to make sure that it still has some connection. It is quick and short and rather easy to read. Some of the books fall a little flat at times but for the most part, it is pretty entertaining for the most part. There are some vivid descriptions that could be a little disgusting. However, it isn’t too disturbing, although I am still confused whether this is for kids (even I assume it should be seeing as its called Zombie Kids Books).

Have you read any of the Fables of the Undead yet?

Cover Reveal: Nightlight Tales by Anthony Renfro

Its been a few months but we’re back for another Cover Reveal! Anthony’s next book is a collection of short stories.

If you are new to him or to here, Anthony Renfro is another fellow blogger here who had a few novels published independently and has also published his short stories.  He is the blogmaster over at Books, Movies, Poetry.  Head on over and visit his site and check out his lovely haikus on all sorts of topics including movies.

Without further ado, I present to you:

 

Nightlight Tales

Synopsis

13 tales of terror.
13 tales that will have you reaching for the nightlight before you go to bed tonight.

Links

US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015D715VW?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B015D715VW?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B015D715VW?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B015D715VW?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Paperback

http://www.amazon.com/Nightlight-Tales-Collection-Horror-Stories/dp/1517355818/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Excerpt from Need to Feed:

The house appeared to be silent, but he thought he heard something, something low and almost inaudible coming from one of the bedrooms.

It was a sucking sound, like something feasting.

He made his way towards that sound, boots clicking on the uneven hard wood floor, spurs jingling, hoping he wasn’t right, but pretty sure he was.

He stopped at the door that led into the Master Bedroom, and listened again. Sure enough, the sound he was hearing was coming from this room. He held the holy water vial up, and popped the lid off with his thumb. He aimed his gun forward, and slipped into the room.

The first person he saw was Bob, lying on his back on the floor, and on top of him was a Vampire, fangs sunk into the man’s neck, sucking him dry. The Vampire was so engrossed in his feast that he didn’t hear the sheriff move in behind him.

While this Vampire fed on Bob, the sheriff looked across the room, and sure enough Linda was lying on her back with another Vampire on top of her, fangs sunk into her neck.

The sheriff was surprised to see these two out so late, because night weakened them considerably; it didn’t hurt them or stop them, but it was sunlight that truly gave them strength.

2015 Reading Challenge!

Thanks to My Tiny Obsessions, I learned that Popsugar put out a Reading Challenge 2015.

Now, I know that I already have a reading challenge set and reading 52 books in a year is almost impossible. I struggle with 35 and I set 40 books for this year plus there’s that Classics Adventure which is a long term project.  I’m happily reading my second Jane Austen novel this year before heading back into the next indie book. While I’m here, if you have indie book suggestions/recommendations, please send them my way. I have a bunch still in my tablet but I’m always on the prowl for more.

Here is the list.  You will find the printable at the link up there, just click on Reading Challenge 2015. Maybe you’d like to join this Reading Challenge also, right?

The ones I’ve read will be bold and italicized along with the link to the book review. If I already know what book I intend on reading for whichever one, I’ll put it next to the category.

2015 Ultimate Reading Challenge

  • A book with more than 500 pages: A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2)
  • A classic romance : Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • A book that became a movie: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  • A book published this year: Slippery Things by Lane Baker
  • A book with a number in the title: Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
  • A book written by someone under 30: Death Before Daylight by Shannon A Thompson
  • A book with non human characters: Watership Down/Animal Farm
  • A funny book:
  • A book by a female authorImmortal Obsession by Denise K. Rago
  • A mystery or thriller: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
  • A book with a one-word title: Slash by Evan Kingston
  • A book of short stories: Grimm’s Fairy Tales
  • A book set in a different country: The Scottish Banker of Sunabaya by Ian Hamilton
  • A nonfiction bookTwo Wolves by Evan Sanders
  • A popular author’s first book: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  • A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet: The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan
  • A book a friend recommended:
  • A Pulitzer Prize-winning book: The Goldfinch/To Kill a Mockingbird
  • A book based on a true story: Argo
  • A book at the bottom of your t0-read list: The Uninvited/Charlotte and Emily
  • A book your mom loves  (Skipping this one.  My mom reads Chinese books and I read EXTREMELY slow in Chinese)
  • A book that scares you: Carrie by Stephen King
  • A book more than 100 years old: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  • A book based entirely on its cover: You by Austin Grossman
  • A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t:
  • A memoir:  Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  • A book you can finish in a day: Amulet series by Kazu Kabuishi
  • A book with antonyms in the title:
  • A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit: Need to research this one a little more…
  • A book that came out the year you were born: Zodiac (could work together with nonfiction)
  • A book with bad reviews
  • A trilogy: The Orphan Trilogy by James & Lance Morcan
  • A book from your childhood: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  • A book with a love triangle: For The Thrill by Nora Flite (might change)
  • A book set in the futureNemo’s World by Jeb Kinnison
  • A book set in high school: 
  • A book with a color in the title : Red Queen by Jeb Kinnison
  • A book that made you cry: A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
  • A book with magic: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • A graphic novel: Prince of Persia Before the Sandstorm by Jordan Mechner
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before: The Fault in our Stars by John Green
  • A book you own but never read: When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
  • A book that takes place in your hometown: Inside by Alix Ohlin
  • A book that was originally written in a different language: Les Miserables?
  • A book set during Christmas: I’ll find one as Christmas approaches, many months later…
  • A book written by an author with your same initials: (I’ll need to take a walk in the bookstore aisle…)
  • A play: (Not really into this.  Unless I pick up a copy of some Shakespeare…)
  • A banned book:
  • A book based on or turned into a TV show: The 100 by Kass Morgan
  • A book you started by never finished: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass

Here’s my Reading Challenge for 2015.  This is going to exceed my Goodreads challenge but even if I don’t finish it in 2015, I will continue to make it happen.  A secondary goal this year is to save money and that means exploring free ebooks and reading ALL the books I have bought but haven’t checked out yet. So, that’s the basis of my list here.

Anyone up for doing this Reading Challenge in 2015 also? Any books to suggest? 

Let us start the week easy with this “quick” list 🙂 Happy Monday!

Demon Energy (Short Story) by Anthony Renfro

***NOTE: DEMON ENERGY is free to read on February 27th and 28th.***

Isn’t it great to start the day seeing little notes like that one? I know it is.

I’ve been a huge supporter of Anthony’s work.  If you don’t know who he is, he owns the blog: Books, Movies, Poetry.  Plus, he’s written a lot of horror and supernatural short stories and a few novels as well.  I reviewed AWOL: A Character Lost (a novel) last month.  This time around, he has a new short story inspired by Matthew 8:28-32.

For this lovely free read days, I’ve put together a little review.

Demon Energy

by Anthony Renfro

Demon Energy

Synopsis: 1 Man – A 1000 Demons Possession. Redemption. Salvation. This short story is about one man tormented by evil, and his journey into the light. (provided by Anthony)

Demon Energy is one of the most captivating reads I’ve had from Anthony’s writing.  Right off, you can feel the anxiety and desperation of this man who is possessed by demons and how lost he is.  The description is apt to set the mood quickly and pull us as spectators onto what is going on, leading it step by step through this man’s journey to redemption.  Does it get it? Well, you’ll have to read that, right? Short stories are something that take time to master.  I have to say that Demon Energy has tapped into something really good, and that’s coming from me, a person who knows nothing about demon possession.

This is a short story, so I’m keeping this short.  I’ve read a few of Anthony’s short stories and this new one really pulled me into the story right away and held me to the end.  Its worth a read and its only about 18 pages (if I remember correctly) making it also an extremely quick and satisfying read 🙂

Remember its available for free today and tomorrow, don’t miss out!

Here are a few links where you can find it:

A Zombie Holiday Trilogy by Anthony Renfro

I’m having a few repeat authors showing up here but Anthony at Books, Movies Poetry was super awesome after he saw my post about his short stories that he sent me his entire A Zombie Holiday Trilogy. Before we get into it, a huge gigantic thank you to him for doing that because I appreciate it a lot 🙂

If you happened to have missed my review of a whole bunch of Anthony’s short stories a little while back, its right HERE!

Actually, one of the short stories, A Zombie New Year was published yesterday.  To get more details, head over to Anthony’s blog HERE!

A Zombie Holiday Trilogy

by Anthony Renfro

a zombie holiday trilogy

A Zombie Holiday Trilogy includes 3 stories (I’m sure you figured that part out):

  • A Zombie Christmas
  • A Zombie Thanksgiving
  • A Zombie New Year

Each story is focused around that holiday during the zombie apocalypse in whichever town and city it is set. The characters are different and they all have their own little mission, regardless if its the protagonist’s desire to give gifts to the survivors or find a turkey for Thanksgiving or reunite as planned on New Year’s.  Among a completely unexpected and pretty bad circumstance, the protagonist look for that shred of hope to forget whats going on outside.  Its that hope that there’s something more to look forward to.

I read A Zombie Christmas earlier with his short stories collection, A Long Journey Off A Short Pier and it was the first time that I realized what these stories were about.  It definitely left me a different and good impression. A Zombie Thanksgiving also gives a nice direction to the story. It shows the growth in the writing to a more detailed story and having more characters involved and adding some concrete relationships.  However, A Zombie New Year differs a little because it combines two aspects of horror with zombies and the haunted.  I sure hope thats not considered a spoiler.  Its two parallel stories because the readers follow the two leads in separate places struggling to survive and to meet up with each other.

I won’t say any more because short stories are exactly that and shouldn’t be gone more in depth to keep your reading experience full of surprises.  I think this trilogy has something different going for it and its worth a read.  Its different what you’d typically expect in this genre (although I only tiptoeing my way into this zombie/horror literature world).

Give it a go and maybe you’ll find something that will give you the pleasant surprises I had with these ones as well 🙂

Also, Anthony is doing a Goodreads giveaway with the publishing of the last short story so head on over to the link up there to get the details.

The Imp/A Long Journey Off A Short Pier/A Vampire at Christmas by Anthony Renfro

Welcome to the first BOOK month. If anything, its an EBOOK month because all of these books are distributed on ebooks and have been stowed away in my tablet for a various length of time.  I haven’t quite figured out if this is a one time deal or I’ll jump back in to do it.  It depends on so many things and we’ve just starts.  If you are joining us on this journey, I’m in a month(ish) long mission to read the ebooks in my tablet written by independent writers.  Maybe you are one, and you’d like to me check it out; maybe you have friends that have an amazing book you’d like me to check out, or maybe you just read one through word of mouth or even am just curious about some other ones, regardless, feel free to drop me a comment, email or even a tweet.  Whatever floats your boat 🙂 I’m sure I’ll be hunting down some new material if not, I’ll just end this earlier than anticipated.  Still, the goal here is exactly like my recommendations page. Its for YOU.  Its to highlight the talented crowd in the blogosphere and I hope you enjoy it! 

Enough of my rambling, lets start this!

First up, I’d like to introduce to you Anthony Renfro, a fellow blogger of ours.  You can find him and his fantastic blogs: Books, Movies, Poetry & his rather new one, A Zombie For The Holidays.

I’ve been following Anthony for a while now and I love reading his haikus for everything: movies, books, life, running, etc.  Its really fun to check it all out. I feel like its perfect timing because he just had a short story available for pre-order on Amazon called A Zombie Thanksgiving.  You can check it out right HERE on his site (give him a follow if you’d like) and follow the link to the Amazon page.

Anthony writes short stories and he did launch a novel recently which I have in my tablet and will read it before the end of next month.  However, I wanted to get this bundle of short stories taken care of first.  The Imp and A Vampire at Christmas are individual short stories whereas, Long Journey Off A Short Pier is a collection of 6 short stories including: A Zombie Christmas, Twenty Dollars, The Blade of Darkness, The Living Sand, Need to Feed, Joyride.

 

I really don’t know how to write anything about short stories.  I feel that to pack in a good story in a short time is hard.  What I loved about Anthony’s stories was that, although most of them touch the paranormal world ranging from spirits, zombies, vampires, possessed objects, they all give (for the most part) a positive twist of events.  There’s something to take from what he wants to say and there’s always a ray of hope somewhere.  I’m not going to say if it always ends with that ray of hope because then I’d be ruining it for you.  However, its all a very worthy read.  Short stories have that: its easy, its simple and straight forward and yet, it can still make you connect with it.

My favorites have to be A Zombie Christmas, The Imp, Need to Feed and The Living Sand are my personal favorites. 🙂

Now, please head on over to check out his sites (links above) and give him a follow!  Maybe even give his short stories a read as well! I enjoyed them a lot and I think you will also!