Eight Deadly Kisses- Anthology

Review by Mandy Tyra

 

I LOVE anthologies, you get yummy little appetizer sized sampling of all sorts of new authors to feed on. And this go round I was looking for a women centric one, there are a few delicious looking ones out there but I settled on Eight Deadly Kisses to start with.
Sweet title, that may have been a factor. Hershey Kisses/Deadly Kisses, basically the same. πŸ˜€
I chose well, this was a really fantastic and diverse -and sweet- little collection. I really can’t say enough good things about it…but I’m sure gonna try.

I am the first to admit that I do not read NEARLY enough lovely ladies in horror, and believe me, I feel so ashamed…
They ARE out there, some really amazing ones too, just gotta sort through all the smelly hairy testosterone first. But they are so worth it. πŸ˜‰

Eight women, most of whom I hadn’t yet heard of. Alice J. Black being the exception, I did read and review her awesome novella Granville, that she co-authored with one of my favorites, David Owain Hughes – a man.

This is an anthology about strong women, written by strong women, and proceeds donated to CAMFED in order to help empower less fortunate strong women in Africa.
It really is impressive to hear about charity donated stories in the indie world, there isn’t much pay to be had for these up and comers in their often fruitless fields, so it’s very charming that I do see this from time to time.
Bravo to the DCP boys (who I hear do not smell all that bad), Rollins, Basnett, and Keane for putting all this together and showcasing some dames to die for.

Oh and this may just be me and chalk it up to my neuroticness but when I do read short story collections, I like to (need to) know how long each one is, so I always check beforehand.
Kind of with my eyes half closed so I don’t inadvertently spoil myself. It just helps me set my own tone and flow. There is nothing worse than being fully engulfed in a short story and then it just all of a sudden ends, when you were expecting a bit more. Knowing beforehand the page count alleviates that kind of disappointment….for me anyway.
So, I included the page numbers here in case there are any other like-minded neurotic sorts.
And uhh, it’s probably important to note that my kindle font it set to the lowest. Lol

Night Terrors ~ Audrey E.L. Coots 13
A college student named Anais has been suffering from night terrors, she lays frozen in fear whilst whispery voices talk to her, taunt her, touch her, even giggle…apparently playing some sort of wicked game with her/on her. She can’t make sense of what they say but they are seemingly working some kind of angle, however sharp, and she feels their endgame is near. Her roommate and bestie Amily, who is a psych major, is sympathetic but convinced it must all be stress related. Anais feels utterly alone. Frustrated, exhausted, terrified, as well as injured….something’s gotta give, something else besides HER, has got to break.
Very creepy and eerie, you felt for the character. Excellent start to the line up.

Soul Seekers ~ Alice J. Black 32
Peyton and Olivia are long time friends and have started a ghostbusting biz together. Peyton has always been in tune with and able to communicate with the supernatural; can sense and dispense of ghosts! When you have that kind of skill set, it makes sense to capitalize on it and business is trying to boom but these girls are so petered out. Need a reliable employee, a 3rd wheel. They settle for a man, who ends up being pretty worthless as either but not before they are finally able to take on the tough case, the one that Peyton has kept putting off. One that ends up being like nothing she has ever experienced before.
This was a great little ‘slice in the life of’ spooky tale and I think it would work smashingly well for Alice as a series. Limitless story potential, Peyton and Olivia are both interesting and well-rounded characters. Even liked that Josh, well…kind of.

The Dead Season ~ Fiona Dodwell 12
Chloe is a lonely gal, she wants the kind of love her parents shared before a car accident stole them from her. She has tried dating agencies to no avail, just much frustration and broken expectations. Hearing of the newest popular dating service, called Soul Match, she decides to give it a go. They seemed really specific in their face to face interview which she takes a good sign of how thoroughly they vet and pair their clients. Ain’t got nothing to lose but time, which she has plenty to spare anyway. All she wants is a date to die for.
I sympathized, I have tried online dating (Match.Com) and my experience was almost as horrific as hers….almost.
Great build up and very likable character. Fiona is an author I have always heard great things about. I’m looking forward to checking out more of her writing.

Marion ~ Erica Chin 14
A confused and disheveled gal wakes up lost in a field, no recollections of herself, or of…anything. Her husband swings by on his tractor, reminds her she’s Marion, then hauls her home. She feels wrong though, everything just feels wrong. She has an ominous message carved into her thigh and she even finds hidden cryptic clues in her house alluding to…something. Did she leave them? Couldn’t she have been more specific if she did…
Oh the unsettling discomfort this lady -who may or may not be- named Marion feels.
Awesome little mystery, really liked the Lewis Carroll references. I couldn’t wait to get the answers and it did NOT go where I thought it would.

Commuting ~ Veronica Smith 9
Tamar is headed on her long commute home, she loves living outside the city but this commute is so mundane. Well, her commute won’t be so routinely boring this go round when at a busy intersection, she gets carjacked!! Being Texas and all, she is armed as well but they are not within her arms reach at the moment, not with him leering and waving his own piece in her face. She frantically hopes some other commuter has taken notice of this blatantly obvious crime. This guy is nuts with an itchy trigger finger and Tamar is beyond terrified, her frantic thoughts speeding towards desperation.
Told from 2 points of view, I loved it and I really wanted MORE, I hated for it to end. That is such a pulse pounding and helpless position to find yourself in and I definitely would have enjoyed some extra padding for this one.

The Black Cat ~ Sharon L. Higa 26
Ohhhh a pirate story with a bit of a voodoo witchy vibe, how unique!
Aissa is a beautiful 14-year-old French African girl living with her parents in Morocco. Her father is a Lieutenant in the Navy and is often away on pirate fighting high seas duty. While out shopping at the fruit vendors one day, she gets kidnapped and shipped away to a pirate slave island by an extra despicable crew of. The captain, notoriously known as The Red Hand, sees much more potential in young Aissa than a few measly doubloons though. She’s just pretty and feisty enough to be extra useful in his piratey endeavors ~ as his bride. First, she must be groomed and well versed in the necessary etiquettes to pull off the long con deceptions he’s envisioned for them. She ends up being quite the apt pupil, always studying and keenly observing, bidding the time for the real lessons to be learned.
Exotic action and adventure with a strong and uncompromising heroine and oh so unique from what I usually read.

Late Lunch ~ C.A. Viruet 12
A small little strip mall opens up behind the regular mall and best friends Kris and Alicia decide to go check it out. Excited to be in each other’s company, they’ve been through a lot, from tours served in the military to college courses, plus they both have creative minds that they hope to turn career oriented. YES, these gals have much to gab about. The Vassal Bar and Grill is quite exquisite, very upscale, and after several too many drinks – they just kept coming – the girls decide to order some food to help absorb. Once they hear about the dinner specials from their overtly attentive and subtly altering waitress, a different sort of tour is to be served, one no less creative though.
Makes me question the validity of those Yelp! reviews.
This one is graphic and wild, such a fun and gluttonous little story. It actually made me peckish…but for takeout; dinner for one.

Prick ~ D.A. Chaney 30
Mara is a 23-year-old gal, not sure what she wants in life, a roomie best friend and wonderful adoptive parents do help guide her. But still, a string of unsuccessful relationships and retail jobs kind of has her feeling in the dumps and on the ruts. She does enjoy her current job at a local book store though and she does keep seeing a cute guy come in, he must like her…she thinks she kind of likes him too. How exciting and she can use a bit of excitement and intrigue but not when he starts showing up EVERYWHERE….wrong kind of excitement – wrong kind of intrigue! She’s freaked the hell out and no one can seem to help her since he hasn’t actually done anything and he doesn’t hang around long enough to be queried.
“He had held a mallet over my emotions and had repeatedly played Whack-a-Mole with them like an exposed nerve.” LOVE that quote, I related.
If I had to pick a favorite under extreme duress, it’d be this one! The timing and the slow burn build up was spot on, such a well told and consuming tale. I felt Mara’s stress and hopelessness. Really realllly liked the gal too!

But every single one of these stories was choice, all very unique and different from each other, all starring strong, powerful, and assertive women.
Women who save the day, or just live to play another day, or go completely cray cray.
No matters, they were all tour de forces to be reckoned with.
I reckon I revel in this genre, so I think I’m gonna stay and play too!
Woman in horror are awesome and can rock out with their ***** out just as well as any man. And I best be remembering that!
I will definitely read and review all of the above women in the upcoming weeks/months. Guaranteed, with pleasure. Full entrΓ©e banquet style! πŸ˜€
And maybe, juuust maybe…I’ll even earn my vag badge back one day. SWEET!

I really hope that DCP have plans for a 2017 collection with the same fearless females trying to out do themselves. ‘Eight Deadlier Kisses’ or something…hahaha I’m sure they could come up with a catchier title than that.

Oh and on one more final note, I was very pleasantly pleased to read in here that editor Basnett is a huge Buffy fan and just a big fan of Whedon in general.
Must must must squeeze him on my Kindle too!!
I know, I know, he is a boy. Baby steps… πŸ˜€

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