KINDLE VELLA REVIEW | Island of the Dead

(Editor's Note: Kindle Vella publishes serial stories to read one short episode at a time.) The fantasy action/adventure novel Island of the Dead by Brian Keene is an old-fashioned story hearkening back to the days of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian. In fact, the main character is a barbarian named Einar. The first three …

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Cover art by Lynne Hansen at In Twentieth Anniversary Screening, author Jeff Strand chronicles the tragic history of a terrible 1991 slasher movie titled The Roofer. Written like a retrospective article on a horror news website, the story recounts the bloody history of events surrounding the film. A 2021 Bram Stoker Award nominee for …

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One-Sentence Reviews: My 1st Quarter 2022 Reads

(Editor’s Note: Here’s another edition of one of my favorite features on the Web by prolific reader and horror author Priscilla Bettis.)

Priscilla Bettis

I had a delicious list of books to read this past quarter, everything from classic literature to extreme horror. Well, the extreme horror stories weren’t so “delicious.” I definitely needed a sweet romance palate cleanser after those!

Here are my one-sentence reviews for 1st quarter 2022:

The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood. Seriously, Atwood was ahead of her time as this book proves with its questioning of traditional family makeup, its point-of-view manipulation, and its hugely symbolic storyline. Library.

Flesh Rehearsal by Brian Bowyer. Bowyer’s extreme horror novel is written in his signature style that borders on stream-of-consciousness, and I admit that the book went over my head. KU.

Road Narrows by Brian Bowyer. I’m glad I gave Bowyer’s style of writing another shot because this brutal story with high-brow existentialist and theological themes had me in its grip and would not let go! KU.

Good Liniment by C.S. Boyack…

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Horror Book Review: THE HOSTAGE

(Editor's note: This review contains major spoilers.) What happens when you successfully rob a bank, but unbeknownst to you, the hostage you take is a notorious cannibalistic serial killer? Hint: It doesn't end well. The Hostage by Elizabeth Bell is a fast-paced Extreme Horror novella detailing the events of a bank robbery and its aftermath. …

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SHORT SHOTS | ‘The Hay Bale’

(Editor’s note: SHORT SHOTS is a column where I review horror short stories.) “The Hay Bale” is the new novelette by Virginia author Priscilla Bettis. I became an instant Bettis fan after reading her debut short story in 2021, the darkly intimate vampire tale “The Sun Sets Nonetheless.” You can read my review of “The …

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One-Sentence Reviews: My 3rd Quarter 2021 Reads

(Editor’s Note: Here’s another edition of one of my favorite features on the Web by prolific reader and horror author Priscilla Bettis.)

Priscilla Bettis

Image of stack of Book magazines

Here are the fiction and nonfiction books I read during the last three months. It LOOKS like I read a lot, but there are quite a few short stories and novellas, so I didn’t really read that many pages. Anyway, I’ll attempt a coherent, one-sentence review for each without cheating and stringing a bunch of sentences together with and!

For fun, this time I put them in reverse alphabetical order by author.:-)

Telecommuting by L. Marie Wood. There is (practically) only one character in this contemporary, slow-burn mystery novella, but Wood makes it work by feeding the reader clues and creating an anxious, believable setting. KU.

I can’t believe Tidepool is Willson’s debut. It’s SO good!

Tidepool by Nicole Willson is a Gothic-Lovecraftian novel with a misty, dank atmosphere, a protagonist you can root for, and a plot you can sink your teeth into. Kindle.

The Horror of the Broken…

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One-Sentence Reviews: My 2nd Quarter 2021 Reads

(Editor’s Note: One of my favorite columns! I’m always amazed at how many reviews Mrs. Bettis packs in her One-Sentence Reviews feature.)

Priscilla Bettis

These are the books I read in April, May, and June along with a one-sentence review of each. (And what’s with today’s feature image?) Alpha by author or editor:

The Encampment by the Gorge & Blood Memory by Zachary Ashford is a Short Sharp Shocks book with two stories set in Australia that include folk horror, politics, crocodiles, and high stakes. KU.

Even if you don’t like apocalypse stories, Nightfall’s artsy cover by Daniele Serra is worth drooling over.

Nightfall by Daniel Barnett. Barnett manages to make lyrical prose sound masculine to suit the tough SOB protagonist in this apocalyptic novel, the first in a series. KU.

The Corn Witch by Christopher Beck. This novelette in the Short Sharp Shocks series (love this series) features a witch as scary as Bradbury’s dust witch even if the prose isn’t as polished as the master’s. KU.

The Sound of Brilliance ed by…

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One Sentence Reviews: My 1st Quarter 2021 Reads

(Editor’s note: Here’s a roundup that I always look forward to every quarter.)

Priscilla Bettis

Image of an e-reader and a pair of reading glasses

I’m excited to share one-sentence reviews for my top 25 reads of first quarter 2021!

(In alphabetical order by author or editor.)

Wings & Fire: A horror anthology compiled by Dan Alatorre. There is such a wide variety of stories here, from dystopian to vampires, from not-so-interesting to excellent stories, the latter category making the anthology worth the read. (KU)

Hard for Hope to Flourish by Bell et al. In this anthology of three horror stories, all three tales (dark fable, African cosmic, and disappearance mystery) are sophisticated literary stories, heavy on character and theme, that make for satisfying reads. (KU)

Perfect prose.

“The Erstwhile Groom” by Laura Benedict is a domestic suspense short story with prose so perfect that it disappears and you end up existing inside the plot. (KU)

“The Ice Dream of the Crow” by Willow Croft is in an anthology called The Phantom Games edited…

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