Blog Tour: Double Barrel Horror #3 (Review)

Welcome to the blog tour for Double Barrel Horror Volume #3, a collection of thrills and chills by six amazing authors! Hold onto your pants folks!

Double Barrel Horror Vol. 3
By: Matthew Weber, Christine Morgan, Mark Matthews, Theresa Braun, Calvin Demmer, Glenn Rolfe, Robert Essig

double barrel horror vol. 3

Publication Date: March 22nd, 2020
Genre: Anthology/Horror/Suspense

Synopsis

Brace yourself for another two-barrel blast of unrelenting horror and suspense. Volume 3 of the ‘Double Barrel Horror’ anthology series delivers two chilling tales from each of six talented authors for a 12-story onslaught that will blow you out of your sneakers. This time around, your fate lies in the hands of Christine Morgan, Mark Matthews, Theresa Braun, Calvin Demmer, Glenn Rolfe, and Robert Essig

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Authors

Matthew Weber

Christine Morgan

Mark Matthews

Theresa Braun

Calvin Demmer

Glenn Rolfe

Robert Essig

Review

While I haven’t read any of the previous two volumes of Double Barrel Horror anthologies, Volume 3 is structured by its authors and their two stories each. For each of the author, it shows off their writing style and sometimes, even a little correlation in detail from one story to the next. Each of these stories are different in their premise and also have their own uniqueness and creativity. Its fairly imaginative and each one has their own twist. As with all kinds of anthologies, they usually have stories that will more and others that in contrast appeal a little less. Its rather nice to say that most of these stories all appeal rather well and it has to do with its variety and the different style that each author chooses while writing their horror stories.

Its never been my forte to review anthologies and I won’t go through each of these stories as there are twelve of them and its more important to highlight the authors and the stories and even the double feature story that hit the mark the best for my own preference. Christine Morgan starts off the anthology with Eye See You in a remarkable way. The descriptive and visual portrayal in Robert Essig’s From Unclean Spells is outstanding. At the same time, Mark Matthews, Theresa Braun, Calvin Demmer and Glenn Rolfe all present some fun double features. Among them, Glenn Rolfe definitely ends on a high with two awesome stories called The Guide and The House on Mayflower Street that definitely was a major highlight and two very strong entries. Different in their horror genre but both equally entertaining. Although, one of the more memorable reads did go to Theresa Braun’s Stillborn which had some chilling elements. Same goes for Mark Matthews two stories, Wicked Smart Carnie and Goodwin that also stood out a lot as well.

Overall, Double Barrel Horror Volume 3’s stories all have their flair but for myself, some definitely land better than others. Luckily, they definitely almost all land in one way or another with the minority that are a little less memorable. Plus, they also have the perk of introducing previously unknown authors (to myself).

Score: 4/5

Purchase Link: Amazon

Blog Tour Schedule

May 11th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com
Kim Knight (Spotlight) http://kimknightauthor.wordpress.com
Literary Dust (Review) https://literarydust.wordpress.com/

May 12th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com
The Scary Reviews (Review) https://thescaryreviews.com
Cats Luv Coffee (Spotlight) https://catsluvcoffeez.blogspot.com

May 13th

Entertainingly Nerdy (Spotlight) https://www.entertaininglynerdy.com
The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com
Book Dragons Not Worms (Spotlight) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1

May 14th

Dark Whimsical Art (Spotlight) https://www.darkwhimsicalart.com/blogs/news
Didi Oviatt (Review) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com
Books Teacup & Reviews (Spotlight) https://booksteacupnreviews.wordpress.com/

May 15th

I Smell Sheep (Spotlight) http://www.ismellsheep.com/
Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/
Banshee Irish Horror Blog (Review) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com
Tranquil Dreams (Review) https://klling.wordpress.com

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The Celestial Assignment by Theresa Braun

The Celestial Assignment
By: Theresa Braun

celestial assignment

After a sudden death, Will, a misguided angel, is tasked with protecting a baby girl. Watching over her as she grows up and navigates the world appears a harsh punishment for his past failings. Can he redeem himself, or will he fall further from grace? – Goodreads

*Book received in exchange for honest review*

The Celestial Assignment is a short story running at around 28 pages. As much as its a story, its really a character analysis exercise. The main character Will has become an angel after his death and assigned to take care of a baby girl called Celeste, much to his surprise. Will is something of a character development analysis. His personality changes subtly, unknowing to himself that he no longer is that selfish man that he used to be and learns more by observing the things that happen to Celeste that he is looking over. Does he face his own problems and really address what makes him draw some parallels to the people that the baby girl meets as she gradually grows up and runs into her own problems and meets guys that are like him when he was alive.

Theresa Braun is a pretty good writer. The Celestial Assignment has a good flow and knows what he tries to presents. With limited page count, the story stays on track all the time and knows exactly what it wants to deliver and the focus it needs to take while keeping everything at a minimum. Will comes to life on paper by how he is written through his reactions, whether its his remarks or his actions, whether you find it snarky, witty or sarcastic. At the beginning there is a real sense of disapproval for such a negative character who does experience the different changes because he is written so vividly.

Seeing as The Celestial Assignment is a shorter story, there isn’t much to talk about without sharing too much of the story. In that sense, I’d rather you go and read it yourself. Its an incredibly quick read. Character analysis like this one helps with the reflection of our own lives and for that, it becomes an intriguing read as we see how the character on the page comes to terms with the person before and now and how to move forward.

Previous books reviewed by Theresa Braun

Dead Over Heels
Fountain Dead

Blog Tour: Fountain Dead by Theresa Braun

Fountain Dead Blog Tour

Fountain Dead
By: Theresa Braun

Fountain Dead

Expected Publication: November 20th, 2018
Genre: Mature YA Horror/Paranormal
Publisher: Unnerving Press

Synopsis

Mark is uprooted from his home and high school in the Twin Cities and forced to move with his family into a Victorian in Nowhere-ville. Busy with the relocation and fitting in, Mark’s parents don’t see what’s unfolding around them—the way rooms and left behind objects seem alive with a haunted past.

Of course, Mark keeps his ghostly encounters to himself, all the while sinking deeper into the house’s dark, alluring, and ultimately terrifying history. As romantic entanglements intensify, the paranormal activity escalates. Past and present come together. Everything is connected—from the bricks in the walls to the hearts beating in their chests, all the secrets of Fountain Dead are finally unearthed.

Available on Amazon

Review

Fountain Dead is two stories intertwined together. The first is set in the 1800s and the second is set in the 1980s. Both of which have a different genre for each of the story. The one set in the past being the origin and foundation story that takes a gruesome horrific turn of events while the one set in the current state of things is more of paranormal haunted house sort of story with teens as the main character.

The biggest challenge of stories structured like this is its flow between the two stories especially when they are a different genres and feature a different set of characters. However, the trick is in the details and Fountain Dead manages to incorporate the connections as it transitions from one to the next in a rather clever way. With that said, the pacing of the novel works because it keeps us intrigued through this swap to constantly keep wanting to know what happens next with each mystery that happens in the present and how it links to the past. While the story does have a lot of horror elements to it, its definitely falls more in a paranormal fantasy sort of a story. The horror descriptions work well but somehow didn’t seem to be as creepy as needed which works for say the YA audience or in general a younger teen audience perhaps. On the other hand, the story set in 1800s doesn’t quite have the horror turn in events until much later when it gets slightly more psychological and twisted. Particularly in the last few chapters, the description there is incredibly vivid as its draws out some of the more horrific details and those fit to the genre really well. For the most part, I’d call this one more of a thriller.

Overall, Fountain Dead works well as a well-paced thriller. While some of the horror elements don’t quite land as much as some of the later moments when the story takes a turn of events, there are some engaging characters in both the past and present storyline. In terms of both the main characters of the two timelines, Emma in the 1800s story and Mark in the 1980s story both have a lot of depth and character development which makes the story even more intriguing to read. The clever connection between the two stories also show a lot of thought and detail in planning out the story. For the most part, the 1980s story does carry a more consistent paranormal element than the 1800s one. My only criticism is the imbalance of the two stories but at the same time, it never felt like it didn’t work. My biggest gripe might be that I didn’t find it quite as scary as it should be. Although, Fountain Dead does also comes with a well-written setting like the Victorian house which always makes it come to life because of these paranormal events. Pretty much, Fountain Dead might fall short a little but it has enough other well thought out elements that makes up for those small shortcomings.

Goodreads rating: 4/5

About the Author

Theresa Braun

Hmmm. What’s this? Looks like Ms. Braun left her computer on and her Goodreads bio open.

This should be fun.

What can we say about Theresa? I mean other than the fact that she’s weirdly obsessed with smiley faces :-). Like, seriously obsessed >:-*. It’s kinda scary :-O.

I think she thinks she’s from Renaissance England or Venice or something. I never could figure out which one it was. (She’s really bad at doing accents.)

She likes romance novels and crime TV, which are pretty much the same thing when you think about it. Ha! Am I right?

She has a hell of a singing voice. Seriously. It’s, like, seventh circle of hell bad.

She likes editing. A lot. Just wait till she get’s a load a this.

Cats. Shoes. Chips and salsa. In that order.

Yeah, that last part didn’t make sense to me either.

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Giveaway

The Rafflecopter giveaway is a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

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Blog Tour: Dead Over Heels (Short Story) by Theresa Braun

Dead Over Heels

Dead Over Heels
By: Theresa Braun

Dead Over Heels

Veronica’s first date with Sebastian not only stirs up a powerful attraction, but also a series of supernatural events that will tear them apart. – Goodreads

Dead Over Heels is a quick short paranormal story. It does take a little while to set up the stage and possibly the beginning gave me some odd vibes of generic dialogue and a hint of possibly the story turning into some contemporary romance, a genre that I’ve been struggling to find something appealing. However, Dead Over Heels is more than that. It proved that the beginning few pages takes just a little more patience and it picks up from there. Short stories are tricky, because it needs to carry character development and story building in a shorter time frame. This paranormal story manages to do it pretty well. Veronica is our main character here and she gets a lot of care into her past and with the events that go by, it allows for mystery and surprises to come up, giving it a fun little journey to the big finale.

Dead Over Heels might not start off great in the first few pages but it finds its pacing quick enough to still let us learn about our characters and build a story that not only has paranormal elements but also some mystery and surprises. A very welcome surprise to say the least and turning things around as it stepped into the finale.

Goodreads score: 4/5
(I’m somewhere in the 3.5/5 leaning towards 4)

About the Author

Theresa Braun

Theresa Braun was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and has carried some of that hardiness with her to South Florida where she currently resides with her two fur babies, who are her creative sidekicks. She enjoys delving into creative writing, painting, photography and even bouts of ghost hunting. Traveling is one of her passions—in fact, her latest adventure took her to Romania for a horror writers’ workshop where she followed in the steps of Vlad the Impaler. She writes horror fiction and the occasional romance. She blogs about writing, television shows, movies, and books, and all things dark. Her short stories are published in Under the Bed Magazine, in Hindered Souls, in The Horror Zine, in Schlock! Webzine, and by Frith Books. Upcoming stories to appear in Monsters Exist and Hardened Hearts.