Book Review Tuesday: The Vampire Connoisseur, Wings and Fire #horroranthologies #horrorfiction #shortstories

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over image

It’s Book Review Tuesday time, and today I have two collections of short stories for you. Both of these anthologies are in a similar vein, with the focus on horror and dark fantasy. Anthologies are a great way to discover new authors, plus glean treats from authors you already enjoy. If you enjoy fiction with elements of the supernatural, dark fantasy, or horror, you’re sure to like these.
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Todd Sullivan Presents: The Vampire Connoisseur
Various Authors

Every now and then I love to disappear between the pages of an anthology, especially when it’s delivered with a central theme. I don’t read a lot of horror, but I do enjoy it now and then, and I liked the idea of The Vampire Connoisseur being themed around, well…vampires. Don’t expect stakes, crosses, and garlic.

What made this collection so intriguing is the diversity in the plots the authors delivered–all so unique with distinctive voices. Some stories deliver subtle goosebumps and chills while others carry more than a slant of gore. As in any anthology, readers are bound to savor a few stories over others. For me, I especially enjoyed The Red Angel by Lisa Hario, The Sun Sets Nonetheless by Priscilla Bettis, Splinters by Keawe Melina Patrick, Parasites: A tale of Route 66 by B.J. Thrower and Take Me Home Tonight by Troy Diffenderfer. Of special note, I loved the mentions of Woody Guthrie in the Route 66 tale.

Read a few stories at a time or read them all at once. However you choose, this is an enjoyable collection for vampire lovers and lovers of horror.

4 STARS
AMAZON LINK
Genre: Vampire Horror . Dark Fantasy Horror

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Wings and Fire
Various Authors

Normally, in an anthology, there are a few stories that don’t quite deliver the punch of the others. Not so with Wings and Fire. This is one of the best collections of stories I’ve read, all of the tales polished with slick writing and clever delivery. I was riveted from start to finish.

A few of the many gems that stood out for me are the stories by Roberta Eaton Cheadle and Jessica Bakkers, especially An Unsolvable Problem or Not by Cheadle and Tasmanian Devil by Bakkers. Other stories (among many) that struck a chord were Wings of Prosperity by Heather Kindt, Dark Obsession by Susan Lamb, Mary by Adele Marie Park, and The Great Potto by M.J. Mallon. Creepy, eerie, and mesmerizing!

Tales vary between spooky, sinister, and edge-of-your-seat suspenseful, but all are brilliant,
delivering the gut punch stories of this nature should. There is one story I skimmed, the content darker than the others, but overall, highly recommended! I thoroughly enjoyed this gem.

5 STARS
AMAZON LINK
Genre: Horror Anthology

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Are you a fan of anthologies? As an author, I’ve contributed to several in the past and have always enjoyed the experience. As a reader, collections like these make for nice “snacks” between longer works. Whatever title is currently on your eReader or keeping you enthralled in paperback form, I wish you happy reading! 🙂

73 thoughts on “Book Review Tuesday: The Vampire Connoisseur, Wings and Fire #horroranthologies #horrorfiction #shortstories

  1. Thank you for sharing your reviews, Mae. Horror is not a genre I usually read, though I respect the writers who can manage it well. Your reviews have cracked open my closed door to these tomes. Maybe, maybe…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I fully understand, Gwen. I actually don’t read horror that often myself, but every once in a while I enjoy a few spine tingling reads. In both of these books there was only one story that I had to skim. I’m glad you dropped by to check out the reviews!

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  2. Hey, I recognize one of those short story authors.:-) Thanks for sharing your reviews, Mae! We liked mostly the same stories the best, but I did read all the way through the darker one in Wings & Fire that you skimmed over. It’s extremely violent, but I thought the violence was integral to the subject/setting and well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! I thought maybe you might recognize one of the authors, Priscilla 😉
      I loved your story, and both of the anthologies were excellent. I respect the author who wrote the one I only skimmed. She alway tells a good tale, but that one was a bit too much for me. I even get freaky about certain types of violence in murder mysteries!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Priscilla, I am sure that is my short story. It is based on the facts of real farm murders in South Africa [of which there were 80 last year] which I felt a need to let the world know about. I actually toned down the real events on which this story is based. I didn’t feel my attempt to share the reality of the South African farm murders worked out well as I think people were generally disbelieving. For me, the fact that this is a true story makes it very relevant and terribly frightening. Anyhow, you live and learn, especially with writing.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hi Robbie.:-) I think you did a good job with it, and it was one of my faves in the anthology. I did know there were real-life events behind the story, so maybe that’s why I found the difficult-to-read parts integral to the story.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Knowing it was based on true events is so tragic, Robbie. I saw your comment on Mark Bierman’s blog recently about the violence in your country. I am so glad you are planning to relocate.You’re a talented author.. I just can’t read certain things. I think it’s the empath in me. I hope you understand.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I do understand, Mae. There are so many great things about South Africa, but this sort of crime has made it a scary place to live. It is a huge tragedy that the commercial farmers are being driven off the land, it will result in food shortages and greater hardship for the poorer people in the not to distant future.

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  3. I love to read anthologies because they let me test the waters. I’ve found a lot of new favorite authors that way. And I love horror/dark themes. I just picked up Wings & Fire. Looking forward to it.

    Thanks for the reviews, Mae.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re in for a treat, Staci. There are excellent stories in both anthologies, and I discovered a number of new-to-me authors, as well as enjoying tales from storytellers I know. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Maura Beth! I’m delighted you dropped by to check out the reviews, and I’m thrilled you recognized an author from your writer’s group.Heather’s story was great. There are so many gems in both of these collections!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoy dark fantasy more than horror, but both can give me a delicious fright once in a while. I can only take so much these days, though:) Short stories are about the right amount of it for me. Great reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Book Review Tuesday — From the Pen of Mae Clair – Scribblings of a Southern Belle

  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on these two anthologies, Mae. Like you, I don’t read much horror. I live alone and need to sleep at night. 🙂 But both of these sound really awesome and I have Wings & Fire on my kindle waiting.

    Like

    • Some horror novels I’ve read have really freaked me out, but these stories didn’t bother me. There was just the one I skimmed. Otherwise, I think you’ll be okay with turning the light off when it’s time, Jan, but I fully get where you’re coming from. I don’t like that kind of horror either!

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  7. Love your reviews, Mae!

    I enjoy anthologies, but I need to be in the right mood for short stories. Shorter works like novellas, I’m all over. Weird little reading quirk, I guess.

    Hope you’re having an amazing week!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I really enjoyed The Vampire Connoisseur, Mae, and agree that the variety of stories was wonderful. I haven’t read Wings and Fire yet, and it seems like a good time to move it up on the TBR pile. Both books have awesome covers. Great reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey there! Great to have you drop in. I think you’re going to love this collection. And I think you’ll be able to peg the story immediately. I’ve since learned it was based on actual fact, which makes it all the more shudder-worthy.

      Like

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