fiction · horror

Review: Tales of the Lost

Author: Richard Howard

Publisher: Matador

Genre: Horror, General Fiction

Summary from Netgalley:

“Something in that magical atmosphere had subtly changed as if the previous stillness had been merely a portent to some mysterious event… He tilted his head to catch whatever sound it was that suddenly made him feel that someone, or something, was watching him.”

Tales of the Lost is a book of short stories for adults, ranging from realms of fantasy to modern-day settings. Richard Howard’s stories are born out of a lifelong love of ghost stories and ‘curious tales’, which he read as a child. Some are ghost stories, others are simply scary, and most have a twist in the tail. In each story, there is a character who, one way or another, feels lost.

One story, Flora’s Return, takes its main character from Henry James’ novella The Turn of the Screw, which was filmed in 1960 as The Innocents. Richard takes this story, which he believes is one of the finest ghost stories ever written, and continues it with an exciting new twist.

Richard’s stories are based on his experiences of growing up in a house with its own ghosts during his childhood. Ghosts created by the author M.R.James, the many aspects of horror and disquiet by William Hope Hodgson, the dark humour of Saki and the relationship between man and the forces of nature in Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood have all inspired the author to contribute to the short story genre.

From science fiction to fairy tales, stories have been written that allow us to enjoy feeling scared in a safe environment. This collection will not disappoint.

Comments:

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

I don’t usually read a book of short stories so this was a welcome change. I got to admit that I also was drawn to this because of the pretty book cover. After finishing the book, I think the cover could be more interesting and could perhaps be more connected with the stories.

The short stories in this collection varies in length and introduces different creatures from ghosts, to folklore, to even Greek mythology. I enjoy the horror genre, but not particularly some of those which were presented in this book. Still, it was an enjoyable read. I did have a couple of favorites – Flora’s Return and Outrage. There was an air of mystery on both accounts and although they were predictable, still made me excited to have the whole plot revealed.

Overall, I would recommend this to those who would delight in short and easy reads, mostly on fantasy-horror.

My Rating: ★★★ (3)

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drama · fiction · young adult

If I Stay

Author:  Gayle Forman
Date finished reading: January 10, 2014

Comments:
I’m so relieved that I didn’t read this book just because it was a popular hype. In fact, I just randomly borrowed the book when I was meaning to read Just One Day and it wasn’t available.

It was the start of a perfect day. Mia and her family went off to visit friends and family. Little did they know that an accident will take place – one that will leave a huge crater on those around them. Nonetheless, Mis being the sole survivor gets to decide for herself – to leave or to stay?

I’m usually not into cheesy literature stuff, but there is something about this book that kept me going. One of the reasons would be the love I have for the characters. It wasn’t Mia; it was the people in her life. I love the back stories on her parents, grandparents, best friend, boyfriend all interwoven to create a unique symphony. It was also how music was such a huge part of this project. I can even picture them, on that accidental celebration of labor day, sitting around the campfire and playing music to their heart’s content. I profess that I lack knowledge when it comes to the musical selection for this book, but that was okay.

The only thing which was off for me was the last part – and that was what most readers seem to compare to Lovely Bones. C’mon Mia, there are a lot of others reasons for you choosing to stay. It’s not just about Adam. It must be the hormones, but hey I expected her to be deeper than that.

Overall, this is a feel good book. 😉

Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.

My Rating: ★★★★★